ONLINE EVENT: Elections and Institutional Crisis in El Salvador


Event Summary This event has passed.

President Nayib Bukele’s Nuevas Ideas party scored a landslide victory in El Salvador’s legislative elections on February 28, giving Bukele a governing majority but prompting new questions about the country’s democratic future. The election took place amidst mounting political tensions in the country. The recent shooting of two FMLN supporters at a political event occurred one year after President Bukele provoked an institutional crisis by leading soldiers into the national legislature. In the intervening months, Bukele has vilified critics and resisted scrutiny, whether from the courts, independent press, political opposition, or US Congress. Concerns over Bukele’s concentration of power are likely to deepen now that he will gain control over key appointments such as the attorney general and Supreme Court magistrates. 

Salvadoran civil society and allies in the international community are focused on protecting the independence of the judiciary, the attorney general’s office, and other oversight and accountability mechanisms. One such effort is strengthening the International Commission Against Impunity in El Salvador (CICIES), a Bukele initiative, by passing legislation that would extend its purview over all institutions of the Salvadoran state. Advocates for the rule of law are likely to encounter support from the Biden Administration, which has made clear it will prioritize anticorruption in Central America and already conveyed its concerns about Bukele’s leadership.

In this context, the Inter-American Dialogue, the Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF), Cristosal and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) are pleased to convene a discussion examining the impact of recent elections on democratic governance, the prospects for CICIES legislation, and the approach of the international community toward El Salvador under the Biden Administration.

Follow this event on Twitter at #ElSalvadorDDHH@The_Dialogue@DPLF_info@Cristosal, and @WOLA_org. We invite participants to send questions through the Q&A function on Zoom or email questions to



Michael Camilleri

Director, Peter D. Bell Rule of Law Program, Inter-American Dialogue (@camillerimj)

Opening Remarks:

Jim McGovern

US Representative for Massachusetts’ 2nd congressional district (@RepMcGovern)


Leonor Arteaga

Program Director, Due Process of Law Foundation (@larteaga52)

Noah Bullock

Executive Director, Cristosal (@NoahFBullock)

Julia Gavarrete

Journalist, El Faro (@PetizaGavarrete)


Adriana Beltrán

Director, Citizen Security Program, Washington Office on Latin America (@Adriana_WOLA)


This event is held in partnership with the Due Process of Law Foundation, Cristosal, and the Washington Office on Latin America.

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