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Critics ask IMF to block financing for El Salvador

October 8, 2021 GMT

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — El Salvador’s National Private Business Association and a Jesuit-run university called Friday for restoring ousted judges as a condition on any new loan from the International Monetary Fund for government of President Nayib Bukele.

They want the IMF to require the government to restore an ousted attorney general and make it clear Bukele can’t run again for the presidency.

Earlier this year, Bukele’s New Ideas party replaced the five members of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court and the independent attorney general who had balked at several of Bukele’s earlier actions.

Soon after, the Constitutional Chamber tossed aside what had long been interpreted as a constitutional ban on consecutive presidential reelection, setting the stage for Bukele to potentially seek a second term in 2024. Bukele has not so far announced plans to seek reelection, but critics assume he will.

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Bukele has requested $1.3 billion in IMF financing, which he intends to use in building a new airport and a Pacific train line.

Bukele quickly took to Twitter, his favorite platform, to criticize the call by the business group and the José Simeón Cañas University.

“They want to return to governing our country, or bankrupt it. And our people? They don’t matter, ” Bukele wrote, noting the university and business group had previously been on opposite sides of the political spectrum.

“Now it’s clear that they were the same thing, and negotiating under the table,” he wrote.

The populist president elected in 2019 has maintained high popularity with his vows to stamp out corruption that was rampant among the country’s traditional parties.