Funes and politicians discuss constitutional crisis

It was a scene you don't often see in El Salvador.   All the top leaders of the country's political parties coming together in one room.  From the ex-president from ARENA Alfredo Cristiani to Medardo Gonzalez, of the FMLN,  President Mauricio Funes had summoned them all to the Presidential House today  to attempt to resolve El Salvador's constitutional crisis.  (See a gallery of Funes shaking hands with all the various party leaders here).

The parties met all throughout the day behind closed doors.   At a little before 8 p.m. El Salvador time, the press was gathered to hear statements read by Funes and by Sigfrido Reyes, the president of the National Assembly.   The parties have not yet reached agreement according to Funes, but had committed themselves to a process tied to the rulings of El Salvador's Supreme Court.   The parties had also agreed that no one would disclose the content of the talks until there was final agreement.   The talks will continue next Thursday.

El Faro noted that Funes' statements today seemed to signal a shift in the president's position, from one which supported the process before the Central American Court of Justice to his current position that the rulings of the Supreme Court must be respected. 

Online, activists complained on Twitter that the parties were going to continue to negotiate behind closed doors without transparency and public scrutiny of their actions.

Stay tuned.


Carlos X. said…
Tim, Funes' statements today promised three things that will make this process fun to watch (from a safe distance!): 1) he said the solution would entail heeding court rulings, 2) he said there would be "no winners or losers," and 3) he said he expected to ink the final solution before everyone goes off on their August vacations. Never mind the high wire tight deadline: items 1 and 2 seem well nigh impossible in and of themselves. If the Assembly has to obey the Constitutional Court as El Faro reads Funes to have said, most observers would say the court won and the Assembly lost. But the devil is in the details. Funes' exact words were, "that political parties ultimately abide by the rulings of the Supreme Court, on the basis of respect for the text of the Constitution, particularly with regard to the separation of powers of the branches of government." If you have been watching this process, you know that qualification is broad enough to drive a truck through because the Assembly's technical nit against the Supreme Court is that the court has overstepped its authority by ordering something that is not literally required by the Constitutional text. Therefore, one reading of what it means to "abide by the rulings of the Supreme Court, on the basis of respect for the text of the Constitution" may be to say that they will obey the court in all other places but here. At the least, it certainly leaves wide latitude for the politicians to appear to offer something when, in substance, they depart very little from their current posture. As you say, we'll stay tuned.
Tim said…
I am completely speculating, but I think that the political parties could probably reach a compromise on the issue of who will be the 2012 class of magistrates for the Supreme Court. But I am not sure how they reach a decision on how to comply with the ruling that Jaime cannot be transferred out of the Constitutional Chamber. Either he is in or he is out, and I think the political bosses really want him out.
FYI, the issue of Jaime being in the Constitutional Chamber is the only point that Amnesty International has taken a position on. Prior to his removal, the London office sent a letter to the Assembly urging them not to remove him. See