New constitutional conflict

The Constitutional Chamber of El Salvador's Supreme Court may be wading once again into a major conflict with the other two branches of government.    The Chamber announced that it will hear legal petitions claiming that the president of the Supreme Court was unconstitutionally elected by the National Assembly.    Salomón Padilla was elected by the National Assembly in August 2012 as part of the deal which ended last summer's constitutional crisis.   Padilla had been a member of the FMLN prior to being selected for the court.   The petitions allege that this party affiliation violates the independence necessary to be a member of the judiciary.

The petitions come after the Constitutional Chamber had earlier nullified election of judges to the Court of Accounts on the grounds that the legislature had not verified their credentials and that they were not independent of partisan interests.

Earlier this month president Funes accused the Constitutional Chamber of trying to paralyze his government after the Chamber blocked a new vehicle tax.