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Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele will seek reelection in next year’s presidential race, a move that some say is illegal because it violates the country’s constitution, the Associated Press reported.

On Thursday, Bukele and his running mate, Vice President Félix Ulloa, registered as candidates of the ruling New Ideas party for the February 2024 polls.

Thousands of Bukele supporters rallied in front of the country’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal to express support for the incumbent.

Polls showed that Bukele would win reelection, adding that the president remains popular for his heavy-handed crackdown on the country’s powerful street gangs.

But the registration prompted questions from legal scholars and human rights groups, who said El Salvador’s 1983 constitution only establishes a five-year presidential term without the possibility of running for a successive term.

While some called it illegal, others noted that El Salvador’s Supreme Court of Justice ruled in 2021 that a constitutional provision allows the president to run for reelection once. They contend that if the Electoral Tribunal deems the application invalid, it would return to the same Supreme Court chamber that previously supported Bukele’s candidacy.

Meanwhile, Bukele countered that while some “developed countries” might disagree with his reelection bid, it will be up to the Salvadoran people to decide.

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