El Salvador's vice president discusses elections, security and economy – NBC4 Washington

This story originally appeared on Telemundo 44. You can read and watch the video in Spanish here.

In an exclusive interview with our sister station Telemundo 44 in Spain, El Salvador's Vice President Félix Ulloa praised the new system that allows Salvadorans abroad to vote during this presidential election period that began on Saturday.

„The democratic and electoral process has evolved so much that, for the first time, the basic human right of migrants to vote has been recognised,” he said.

The country's Supreme Electoral Tribunal launched a webpage for its citizens to exercise their right to vote using their national identity cards (known as Documento Único de Identidad or DUI in Spanish). The portal will be available until February 4, when elections will also be held in El Salvador.

Ulowa is currently on a six-month vacation with President Nayeb Bukele, after the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court allowed both of them to seek a second term in office, a controversial move that the country's constitution prohibits a president from re-electing.

For example, Article 154 states: „The term of office of the President shall be five years and shall begin and end on June 1, and the incumbent shall not continue in office for a single day.”

But another part, Article 152, reads as follows: „The following persons shall not be candidates for the office of President of the Republic: 1.- Those who have served as President of the Republic for more than six months or during the immediately preceding period, or within six months preceding the commencement of the term of office of the President.

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When questioned on the issue, Ulloa said, “There is a difference between an immediate election and a second term. [the latter of] This is what the Constitution allows.”

After a six-month gap, if the president loses the election, „he returns to office and finishes his term and hands it over to the winner. If he wins, he waits until Inauguration Day on June 1.”

On security, the state of exception (or state of emergency) was extended on Tuesday for the 22nd time.

In addition, he called on organizations that denounce human rights abuses to „report from within El Salvador.”

His comments followed an investigation published by Human Rights WatchEl Salvador has recorded more than 1,000 cases of serious human rights violations, including arbitrary arrests, torture, lack of due process, breaking and entering, threats, police harassment, ill-treatment, and cruel or degrading treatment.

Ulloa responded that some of these organizations allegedly did not visit the country to prepare these reports.

„It's a shame because it calls into question the protection of human rights, because they are actually bureaucrats who make a living doing it, but they are not really at the forefront of protecting human rights,” he stressed.

Ulloa added that the government's crackdown on gangs has allowed economic growth in the country.

„Security is something that people are starting to enjoy and the economy is starting to thrive. Before, there was a beauty salon or a mechanic shop and you would find a gang member,” he said.

Also, Ulloa expects Bugel's administration to seek to fight corruption during its second term.

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