Nayib Bukele, El Salvador President, is being criticized for seeking a second term. But, should the Bitcoin community stand behind him?
This opinion editorial is by Jaime Garcia, a Salvadoran/Canadian Bitcoin enthusiast and cohost of Global Bitcoin Fest.
Many Bitcoiners consider El Salvador a beacon for hope. It's the only country that has made bitcoin an official currency. It has created a welcoming environment for international Bitcoiners to gather, vacation and invest in their stacks. President Nayib Bukele is without a doubt the driving force behind Bitcoin adoption in El Salvador.
It will take many more years to ensure the success of this unique project. Many have wondered what would happen if Bukele was no longer the project's biggest champion. Many have wondered if one term of the presidency is sufficient to finish the job of orange-pilling El Salvador.
Many Bitcoiners would welcome the possibility of Bukele being re-elected. Equally important, however, is the possibility that Bukele could circumvent the Salvadoran constitution in order to obtain another term and continue his presidency — an abuse power that would seem contrary to Bitcoin's emphasis upon rules, not rulers.
Now, it appears that Bukele will try to continue his presidency beyond the current term. Bukele declared that he would run for the presidency in 2024, on September 15, 2022. This was El Salvador's 201st Independence Day. His announcement was met with enthusiasm, excitement and thunderous applause by many Salvadorans. Many of his critics, detractors and international news agencies immediately condemned his decision for a second term as illegally and unconstitutional. Most of their condemnations were based upon the belief that El Salvador's Constitution limits presidential administrations to a five-year term.
This article outlines Bukele's legal pathway to a second term as president. This article is not meant to detract or promote Bukele's future presidential ambitions, but rather to highlight the requirements of a Bukele candidacy in the current Salvadoran constitution. The key factors that will assist you in assessing the situation are the Salvadoran constitution's nuanced elements, the events leading to Bukele's announcement, and the mood of Salvadoran citizens.
The Legal Problems Around Bukele’s Second Term
Bukele, like many El Salvadorans, believed that the presidential term was limited to one and that it was impossible to re-elect. In many interviews, he stated that he would not alter the constitution to win re-election.
It is not as easy as you might think to change the constitution. First, the constitution cannot be altered by the president. Second, the proposed changes must be signed by at least ten Legislative Assembly deputies. The Legislative Assembly of El Salvador must approve the proposed changes with a simple majority vote of at least 50% plus one. After a cooling off period, the next elected legislative body would vote to ratify the proposed change with a vote that requires three-quarters of its members.
Even though his party has a supermajority of the assembly, it would have been impossible to pass a constitutional amendment in time to allow Bukele to run for another term. Article 248 of the constitution explicitly forbids any changes to the section relating to presidential terms.
According to what we know, Bukele didn't intend to run for re-election. What made it possible that he announced that he would run for a second term?
A Recent Interpretation Of El Salvador's Constitution
The Salvadoran digital news outlet Diario El Mundo published a interview with Nancy Marichel Diaz de Martinez on February 15, 2021. She is a candidate for the GANA party at the forthcoming legislative assembly elections. The paper asked her if she supported the re-elections of Bukele in the interview. She answered positively.
Salvador Enrique Anaya Barraza (a prominent Bukele detractor, constitutional lawyer and plaintiff) filed a lawsuit against Diaz de Martinez on March 22, 2021 in an attempt to disqualify her from running for the legislative assembly elections. According to the charge, Diaz de Martinez promoted the re-election campaign of the president. According to Article 75, Section 4, this activity is forbidden and you will be punished by losing your rights as a citizen, including the right to run for office.
Diaz de Martinez was allowed to run for the Salvadoran supreme Court's constitutional chamber provided she was found in violation of the constitution and that her bid was unsuccessful (which was not), then they would depose of her office. Diaz de Martinez admitted the charges at the time.
The supreme court's constitution chamber issued a ruling on September 3, 2021 regarding Diaz de Martinez losing his citizenship rights. It referred to the entire body of jurisprudence on the subject in order to fully explore the consequences of the decision. It concluded that Diaz de Martinez didn't lose her citizen rights because:
1. Salvador Enrique Anaya Barraza's evidence was not objective and untrustworthy.
2. It is a given that the chamber must use common sense when interpreting the constitution, and not penalize sovereign people for the strict and literal language. Citizens can also freely express their political opinions, even if they are not allowed by the constitution. They do not have to fear losing their rights. The constitution already guarantees freedom of expression. Article 75 Section 4 cannot override that guarantee.
3. It clarified further that the president cannot run for a second term as an incumbent. However, he can apply to the legislative assembly for a permit to run for a second term. As long as he has not been elected president within the six-month period before the next term begins, he may do so. Because it is constitutionally possible, citizens can advocate for a second term.
4. The chamber clarified Article 152, Section 1 and revealed a pathway for a second legal term.
This is a translation of Article 152 of the 1983 constitution:
"The following individuals may not be eligible to run for President of the Republic.
Section 1 – "Those who held the Presidency for more than six consecutive months during the immediately prioring period, or the six months preceding the start of the presidential term."
The court noted that the immediately preceding period was not the current presidential period. Therefore, the current president can choose to run for a candidacy, as long as he is not president at the time of running.
It was a reminder of how important it is for a candidate to not be the president in the six-month period preceding when the presidential term will begin. This is because of the advantages of being incumbent and the ability to use the power of office for campaigning.
Source: The Author
5. The ruling stated that the president must request permission to step down from office to run for a second term.
6. The concept of alternability was more important to the chamber than a change of president. This could happen if the current president decides to step down and the vice-president takes over. The chamber defined "alternability", as the possibility for the electorate to choose another candidate through freely-held elections.
7. The chamber's decision was crucial because it explicitly stated that the pursuit of a third term for the presidency is forbidden.
8. The chamber also gave explicit instructions to the supreme electoral tribunal. This tribunal enforces rules and administers elections and facilitates registration of the current President, provided he is eligible to run.
Does El Salvador's Constitution Prohibit A Second Presidential Term?
Arturo Mendez Azahar was the minister of justice in 1983 and the legal advisor to the presidency in 1982. He said that a second term is legal and possible from the time this constitution was drafted.
Mendez Azahar stated in an interview with Bitcoin Magazine that "When you compare the Constitution of today to the Constitution of 1950 and 1962, which specifically prohibited the president from being a candidate, it becomes clear that there is still the possibility of a second term." We removed that prohibition in the 1983 version. We may have made mistakes when drafting certain parts of the constitution. However, this change was deliberate. My generation of constitutional lawyers has long known that there is a way to go in order to pursue a second term for the president.
Mendez Azahar answered the question why no one tried to run for a second term. He explained that presidents believe they can only run for one term. Mendez Azahar explained that Tony Saca, a former president imprisoned, had run for office when he was not eligible. The supreme electoral tribunal granted Saca permission to run in the 2014 election, despite his candidacy being illegal.
It is even more remarkable that Salvador Sanchez Ceren, the former Salvadoran president had a candidacy which would be considered unconstitutional. Sanchez Ceren, a former vice president under Mauricio FUNES, could not run as a candidate since he had already served his entire term. He had to apply for a permit and resign six months before he could be considered as a legal candidate. Despite Sanchez Ceren's unconstitutional candidacy, nobody noticed or maybe it was completely ignored. He won the election and became President of El Salvador.
Mendez Azahar said that the 1950 constitution was under the auspices the U.S. and Salvadoran oligarchy. They made it so that no one could get a second term. This was because they were worried about the military retaining perpetual power or worse, the civilian president doing a good work. It was not our intention to make it hard to request a second term after we lifted that limit in 1983. Only someone like Bukele can ask for an exemption to allow him to resign from the presidency in order to run for a second term. Salvadorans would have laughed at any previous president asking for such an exoneration.
Which Path Will Bukele Follow?
Most likely, Bukele will request permission from the legislative assembly to take down the presidency and run for the office of candidate. This is according to the chamber's ruling. The supreme electoral tribunal, which is the same body that obstructed Bukele's candidacy in 2017, cannot give Bukele permission to run for the presidency. Julio Olivo (one of the key members) has suggested that there should be an attempted coup d'etat against Bukele.
Bukele's path is not without risk.
Ironically, Bukele's opposition tried to stop him from running for a second term. However, his approval rating has almost guaranteed his presidency. It may be easy to compare Bukele to Latin American caudillos. However, it is important to understand El Salvador's laws as well as the legal pathway he could take to run for the presidency.
While some may disagree with each other, knowing the facts is essential for Bitcoiners to evaluate the current situation in Bitcoin Country.
Jaime Garcia contributed this guest post. These opinions are not necessarily those of Bitcoin Magazine or BTC Inc.
Frequently Asked Questions
What precious metals could you invest in to retire?
The best precious metal investments are gold and silver. Both can be easily bought and sold, and have been around since forever. These are great options to diversify your portfolio.
Gold: The oldest form of currency known to man is gold. It's stable and safe. It is a good way for wealth preservation during uncertain times.
Silver: Investors have always loved silver. This is a great choice for people who want to avoid volatility. Silver, unlike gold, tends not to go down but up.
Platinum: This precious metal is also becoming more popular. It's like silver or gold in that it is durable and resistant to corrosion. It is however more expensive than its counterparts.
Rhodium: Rhodium can be used in catalytic convertors. It is also used as a jewelry material. It is also quite affordable compared with other types of precious metals.
Palladium – Palladium is an alternative to platinum that's more common but less scarce. It's also more affordable. This is why it has become a favourite among investors looking for precious metals.
What are the benefits to having a gold IRA
The best way to save money for retirement is to place it in an Individual Retirement Account. It is tax-deferred until it's withdrawn. You have complete control over how much you take out each year. And there are many different types of IRAs. Some are better suited for people who want to save for college expenses. Some are better suited for investors who want higher returns. For example, Roth IRAs allow individuals to contribute after age 59 1/2 and pay taxes on any earnings at retirement. The earnings earned after they withdraw the funds aren't subject to any tax. This account is a good option if you plan to retire early.
An IRA with a gold status is like any other IRA because you can put money into different asset classes. Unlike a regular IRA which requires taxes to be paid on gains as you wait to withdraw them, a IRA with gold allows you to invest in multiple asset classes. People who want to invest their money rather than spend it make gold IRA accounts a great option.
An additional benefit to owning gold through an IRA, is the ease of automatic withdrawals. That means you won't have to think about making deposits every month. Direct debits could be set up to ensure you don't miss a single payment.
Gold is one of today's most safest investments. Its value is stable because it's not tied with any one country. Even in times of economic turmoil, gold prices tend not to fluctuate. This makes it a great investment option to protect your savings from inflation.
How much should you have of gold in your portfolio
The amount you make will depend on the amount of capital you have. For a small start, $5k to $10k is a good range. You could then rent out desks and office space as your business grows. So you don't have all the hassle of paying rent. Rent is only paid per month.
Also, you need to think about the type of business that you are going to run. In my case, I run a website-creation company. Our clients pay us between $1000-2000/month and depending on their order. If you are doing this type of thing, it is important to think about how much you can expect from each client.
As freelance work requires you to be paid freelancers, your monthly salary won't be as high as mine. This means that you may only be paid once every six months.
You must first decide what kind and amount of income you are looking to generate before you can calculate how much gold will be needed.
I recommend starting with $1k-$2k of gold and growing from there.
Should You Buy Gold?
Gold was once considered an investment safe haven during times of economic crisis. Many people are now turning their backs on traditional investments like stocks and bonds, and instead look to precious metals like Gold.
Although gold prices have shown an upward trend in recent years, they are still relatively low when compared to other commodities like oil and silver.
Some experts believe that this could change very soon. They believe gold prices could increase dramatically if there is another global financial crises.
They also pointed out that gold is gaining popularity due to its perceived value, and potential return.
These are some things you should consider when considering gold investing.
- The first thing to do is assess whether you actually need the money you're putting aside for retirement. You can save for retirement and not invest your savings in gold. However, you can still save for retirement without putting your savings into gold.
- Second, be sure to understand your obligations before you purchase gold. Each offer varying degrees of security and flexibility.
- Remember that gold is not as safe as a bank account. It is possible to lose your gold coins.
If you are thinking of buying gold, do your research. Protect your gold if you already have it.
- The price of gold jumped 131 percent from late 2007 to September 2011, when it hit a high of $1,921 an ounce, according to the World Gold Council. (aarp.org)
- Gold is considered a collectible, and profits from a sale are taxed at a maximum rate of 28 percent. (aarp.org)
- You can only purchase gold bars at least 99.5% purity. (forbes.com)
- (Basically, if your GDP grows by 2%, you need miners to dig 2% more gold out of the ground every year to keep prices steady.) (smartasset.com)
- Indeed, several financial advisers interviewed for this article suggest you invest 5 to 15 percent of your portfolio in gold, just in case. (aarp.org)
- 7 U.S. Code SS7 – Designation of boards for trade as contract markets
- 26 U.S. Code SS 408 – Individual retirement accounts
- Are You a Good Candidate for a Gold IRA
- What are the Options Types, Spreads and Example. Risk Metrics
The History of Gold as an Asset
Gold was a currency from ancient times until the early 20th century. It was accepted worldwide and became popular due to its durability, purity, divisibility, uniformity, scarcity, and beauty. Due to its value, it was also internationally traded. Different weights and measurements existed around the world, however, because there were not international standards to measure gold. For example, in England, one pound sterling was equal to 24 carats of silver; in France, one livre tournois was equal to 25 carats of gold; in Germany, one mark was equal to 28 carats of gold; etc.
In the 1860s, the United States began to issue American coins made from 90% copper, 10% Zinc, and 0.942 Fine Gold. This led to a decline in demand for foreign currencies, which caused their price to increase. In this period, large amounts of gold coin were minted by the United States, which caused the gold price to drop. The U.S. government was unable to pay its debts due to too much money being in circulation. They decided to return some of the gold they had left to Europe.
Many European countries began accepting gold in exchange for the dollar because they did not trust it. However, many European nations stopped using gold to pay after World War I and started using paper currency instead. The gold price has gone up significantly in the years since. Even though the price of gold fluctuates, it remains one the best investments you can make.
By: Jaime García
Title: Should Bitcoiners Support Nayib Bukele’s Attempt At Re-Election?
Sourced From: bitcoinmagazine.com/culture/should-bitcoiners-support-bukele
Published Date: Wed, 21 Sep 2022 03:30:00 GMT