Dialogue Begins Between Government Powers in Wake of Controversial Decree 743
LegislativeAssembly president Sigfrido Reyes (left) in joint press conference withSupreme Court president Belarmino Jaime (right).
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OnThursday, June 9, the leadership of the Legislative Assembly and the Magistrates of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court met for the first time to discuss the controversial legislative decree 743 that has caused a major conflict between the government branches and begin toreconcile tensions that have been developing over the past two years between El Salvador's Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches; both sides considered the meeting an important step towards resolving the institutional tension that began with the passage of the decree two weeks ago. On June 2, all right-wing parties – Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA), Great Alliance for National Unity (GANA), Christian Democrat Party (PDC), National Conciliation Party (PCN) - closed ranks to pass the decree that requires unanimous decisions from the five magistrates of the Constitutional Chamber. The Constitutional Chamber isthe highest court in El Salvador’s judiciary and monitors the constitutionality of laws and policies passed by the Executive and Legislative branches. Previously, a 4/5 majority of magistrates was necessary to declare a law or policy unconstitutional and a 3/5 majoritywas necessary to determine that a person or institution's constitutional rights had been violated.
Theright wing parties publicly stated that decree 743 was a preventative measure to halt the Constitutional Chamber from ruling on cases related to the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and dollarization -hallmarks of neoliberal economic policies implemented under ARENA administrations - as well as the Amnesty Law that prohibits prosecution of crimes committed during El Salvador's Civil War.