Nayib Bukele, El Salvador President, is being criticized for seeking a second term. But, should the Bitcoin community stand behind him?
This opinion editorial is by Jaime Garcia, a Salvadoran/Canadian Bitcoin enthusiast and cohost of Global Bitcoin Fest.
Many Bitcoiners consider El Salvador a beacon for hope. It's the only country that has made bitcoin an official currency. It has created a welcoming environment for international Bitcoiners to gather, vacation, and invest their funds. President Nayib Bukele is without a doubt the driving force behind Bitcoin adoption in El Salvador.
It will take many more years to ensure the success of this unique project. Many have wondered what would happen if Bukele was no longer the project's biggest champion. Many have wondered if one term of the presidency is sufficient to finish the job of orange-pilling El Salvador.
Many Bitcoiners would welcome the possibility of Bukele being re-elected. Equally important, however, is the possibility that Bukele could circumvent the Salvadoran constitution in order to obtain another term and continue his presidency — an abuse power that would seem contrary to Bitcoin's emphasis upon rules, not rulers.
Now, it appears that Bukele will try to continue his presidency beyond the current term. Bukele declared that he would run for the presidency in 2024, on September 15, 2022. This was El Salvador's 201st Independence Day. His announcement was met with enthusiasm, excitement and thunderous applause by many Salvadorans. Many of his critics, detractors and international news agencies immediately condemned his decision for a second term as illegally and unconstitutional. Most of their condemnations were based upon the belief that El Salvador's Constitution limits presidential administrations to a five-year term.
This article outlines Bukele's legal pathway to a second term as president. This article is not meant to detract or promote Bukele's future presidential ambitions, but rather to highlight the requirements of a Bukele candidacy in the current Salvadoran constitution. The key factors that will assist you in evaluating the situation are the Salvadoran constitution's nuanced elements, the events leading to Bukele's announcement, and the mood of Salvadoran citizens.
The Legal Problems Around Bukele’s Second Term
Bukele, like many El Salvadorans, believed that the presidential term was limited to one and that it was impossible to re-elect. In many interviews, he stated that he would not alter the constitution to win re-election.
It is not as easy as you might think to change the constitution. First, the constitution cannot be altered by the president. Second, the proposed changes must be signed by at least ten Legislative Assembly deputies. The Legislative Assembly of El Salvador must approve the proposed changes with a simple majority vote of at least 50% plus one. After a cooling off period, the next elected legislative body would vote to ratify the proposed change with a vote that requires three-quarters of its members.
Even though his party has a supermajority of the assembly, it would have been impossible to pass a constitutional amendment in time to allow Bukele to run for another term. Article 248 of the constitution explicitly forbids any changes to the section relating to presidential terms.
According to what we know, Bukele didn't intend to run for re-election. What made it possible that he announced that he would run for a second term?
A Recent Interpretation Of El Salvador's Constitution
The Salvadoran digital news outlet Diario El Mundo published a interview with Nancy Marichel Diaz de Martinez on February 15, 2021. She is a candidate for the GANA party at the forthcoming legislative assembly elections. The paper asked her if she supported the re-elections of Bukele in the interview. She answered positively.
Salvador Enrique Anaya Barraza (a prominent Bukele detractor, constitutional lawyer and plaintiff) filed a lawsuit against Diaz de Martinez on March 22, 2021 in an attempt to disqualify her from running for the legislative assembly elections. According to the charge, Diaz de Martinez promoted the re-election campaign of the president. According to Article 75, Section 4, this activity is forbidden and you will be punished by losing your rights as a citizen, including the right to run for office.
Diaz de Martinez was allowed to run for the Salvadoran supreme Court's constitutional chamber provided she was found in violation of the constitution and that her bid was unsuccessful (which was not). She would be deposed of her office. Diaz de Martinez confessed to the charges at the time.
The supreme court's constitution chamber issued a ruling on September 3, 2021 regarding Diaz de Martinez losing his citizenship rights. It referred to the entire body of jurisprudence on the subject in order to fully explore the consequences of the decision. It concluded that Diaz de Martinez didn't lose her citizen rights because:
1. Salvador Enrique Anaya Barraza's evidence was not objective and untrustworthy.
2. It is a given that the chamber must use common sense when interpreting the constitution, and not penalize sovereign people for the strict and literal language. Citizens can also freely express their political opinions, even if they are not allowed by the constitution. They do not have to fear losing their rights. The constitution already guarantees freedom of expression. Article 75 Section 4 cannot override that guarantee.
3. It clarified further that the president cannot run for a second term as an incumbent. However, he can apply to the legislative assembly for a permit to run for a second term. As long as he has not been elected president within the six-month period before the next term begins, he may do so. Because it is constitutionally possible, citizens can advocate for a second term.
4. The chamber clarified Article 152, Section 1 and revealed a pathway for a second legal term.
This is a translation of Article 152 of the 1983 constitution:
"The following individuals may not be eligible to run for President of the Republic.
Section 1 – "Those who held the Presidency for more than six consecutive months during the immediately prioring period, or the six months preceding the start of the presidential term."
The court noted that the immediately preceding period was not the current presidential period. Therefore, the current president can choose to run for a candidacy, as long as he is not president at the time of running.
It was a reminder of how important it is for a candidate to not be the president in the six-month period preceding when the presidential term will begin. This is because of the advantages of being incumbent and the ability to use the power of office for campaigning.
Source: The author
5. The ruling stated that the president must request permission to step down from office to run for a second term.
6. The concept of alternability was more important to the chamber than a change of president. This could happen if the current president decides to step down and the vice-president takes over. The chamber defined "alternability", as the possibility for the electorate to choose another candidate through freely-held elections.
7. The chamber's decision was crucial because it explicitly stated that the pursuit of a third term for the presidency is forbidden.
8. The chamber also gave explicit instructions to the supreme electoral tribunal. This tribunal enforces rules and administers elections and facilitates registration of the current President, provided he is eligible to run.
Does El Salvador's Constitution Prohibit A Second Presidential Term?
Arturo Mendez Azahar was the minister of justice in 1983 and the legal advisor to the presidency in 1982. He said that a second term is legal and possible from the time this constitution was drafted.
Mendez Azahar stated in an interview with Bitcoin Magazine that "if you compare the current Constitution to the versions of 1950 and 1962, which specifically prohibited the president from being a candidate, then you will see that a second term is possible." We removed that prohibition in the 1983 version. We may have made mistakes when drafting certain parts of the constitution. However, this change was deliberate. My generation of constitutional lawyers has long known that there is a way to go in order to pursue a second term for the president.
Mendez Azahar answered the question why no one tried to run for a second term. He explained that presidents believe they can only run for one term. Mendez Azahar explained that Tony Saca, a former president imprisoned, had run for office when he was not eligible. The supreme electoral tribunal granted Saca permission to run in the 2014 election, despite his candidacy being illegal.
It is even more remarkable that Salvador Sanchez Ceren, the former Salvadoran president had a candidacy which would be considered unconstitutional. Sanchez Ceren, a former vice president under Mauricio FUNES, could not run as a candidate since he had already served his entire term. He had to apply for a permit and resign six months before he could be considered as a legal candidate. Despite Sanchez Ceren's unconstitutional candidacy, nobody noticed or maybe it was completely ignored. He won the election and became President of El Salvador.
Mendez Azahar said that the 1950 constitution was under the auspices the U.S., the Salvadoran Oligarchy made it impossible for anyone to have another term. They were worried about the military retaining perpetual power or worse, civilian presidents doing a good job. It was not our intention to make it hard to request a second term after we lifted that limit in 1983. Only someone like Bukele can ask for an exemption to allow him to resign from the presidency in order to run for a second term. Salvadorans would have laughed at any previous president asking for such an exoneration.
Which Path Will Bukele Follow?
Most likely, Bukele will request permission from the legislative assembly to step down as president and run for the office of candidate. This is according to the chamber's ruling. The supreme electoral tribunal, which is the same body that obstructed Bukele's candidacy in 2017, cannot give Bukele permission to run for the presidency. Julio Olivo (one of the key members) has suggested that there should be an attempted coup d'etat against Bukele.
Bukele's path is not without risk.
Ironically, Bukele's opposition tried to stop him from running for a second term. However, his approval rating has almost guaranteed his presidency. It may be easy to compare Bukele to Latin American caudillos. However, it is important to understand El Salvador's laws as well as the legal pathway he could take to run for the presidency.
While some may disagree with each other, knowing the facts is essential for Bitcoiners to evaluate the current situation in Bitcoin Country.
Jaime Garcia contributed this guest post. These opinions are not necessarily those of Bitcoin Magazine or BTC Inc.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can the government steal your gold?
The government cannot take your gold because you own it. It is yours because you worked hard for it. It belongs entirely to you. This rule could be broken by exceptions. For example, if you were convicted of a crime involving fraud against the federal government, you can lose your gold. Additionally, your precious metals may be forfeited if you owe the IRS taxes. You can keep your gold even if your taxes are not paid.
What is a Precious Metal IRA (IRA)?
A precious metal IRA allows you to diversify your retirement savings into gold, silver, platinum, palladium, rhodium, iridium, osmium, and other rare metals. These rare metals are often called “precious” as they are very difficult to find and highly valuable. They make excellent investments for your money and help you protect your future from inflation and economic instability.
Bullion is often used to refer to precious metals. Bullion is the physical metal.
You can buy bullion through various channels, including online retailers, large coin dealers, and some grocery stores.
With a precious metal IRA, you invest in bullion directly rather than purchasing shares of stock. This allows you to receive dividends every year.
Precious Metal IRAs don’t require paperwork nor have annual fees. Instead, your gains are subject to a small tax. Additionally, you have access to your funds at no cost whenever you need them.
Should You Buy or Sell Gold?
Gold was a safe investment option for those who were in financial turmoil. Many people are shifting away from traditional investments like bonds or stocks to instead look toward precious metals such gold.
The gold price has been in an upward trend for the past few years, but it remains relatively low compared with other commodities like silver or oil.
Some experts think that this could change in the near future. They believe gold prices could increase dramatically if there is another global financial crises.
They also note that gold is increasingly popular because of its perceived intrinsic value and potential return.
Consider these things if you are thinking of investing in gold.
- Before you start saving money for retirement, think about whether you really need it. You can save for retirement and not invest your savings in gold. However, when you retire at age 65, gold can provide additional protection.
- Second, ensure you fully understand the risks involved in buying gold. Each offers varying levels of flexibility and security.
- Don't forget that gold does not offer the same safety level as a bank accounts. If you lose your gold coins, you may never recover them.
Do your research before you buy gold. You should also ensure that you do everything you can to protect your gold.
Is gold a good investment IRA option?
Anyone who is looking to save money can make gold an excellent investment. You can also diversify your portfolio by investing in gold. But there is more to gold than meets the eye.
It has been used throughout history as currency and it is still a very popular method of payment. It is often called “the most ancient currency in the universe.”
Gold is not created by governments, but it is extracted from the earth. It is very valuable, as it is rare and hard to create.
Gold prices fluctuate based on demand and supply. The economy that is strong tends to be more affluent, which means there are less gold miners. The value of gold rises as a consequence.
On the other hand, people will save cash when the economy slows and not spend it. This causes more gold to be produced, which lowers its value.
This is why investing in gold makes sense for individuals and businesses. If you have gold to invest, you will reap the rewards when the economy expands.
Also, your investments will earn you interest which can help increase your wealth. Plus, you won't lose money if the value of gold drops.
How do you withdraw from an IRA that holds precious metals?
You first need to decide if you want to withdraw money from an IRA account. Then make sure you have enough cash to cover any fees or penalties that may come with withdrawing funds from your retirement plan.
A taxable brokerage account is a better option than an IRA if you are prepared to pay a penalty for early withdrawals. This option is also available if you are willing to pay taxes on the amount you withdraw.
Next, you'll need to figure out how much money you will take out of your IRA. This calculation will depend on many factors including your age at the time of withdrawal, how long the account has been in your possession, and whether you plan to continue contributing towards your retirement plan.
Once you know what percentage of your total savings you'd like to convert into cash, you'll need to determine which type of IRA you want to use. Traditional IRAs allow for you to withdraw funds without tax when you turn 59 1/2. Roth IRAs, on the other hand, charge income taxes upfront but you can access your earnings later and pay no additional taxes.
Once the calculations have been completed, it's time to open a brokerage accounts. Brokers often offer promotional offers and signup bonuses to encourage people into opening accounts. However, a debit card is better than a card. This will save you unnecessary fees.
When you finally get around to making withdrawals from your precious metal IRA, you'll need a safe place where you can store your coins. Some storage facilities will take bullion bars while others require you only to purchase individual coins. Either way, you'll need to weigh the pros and cons of each before choosing one.
Bullion bars, for example, require less space as you're not dealing with individual coins. However, each coin will need to be counted individually. However, keeping individual coins in a separate place allows you to easily track their values.
Some people prefer to keep coins safe in a vault. Some people prefer to store their coins safely in a vault. Regardless of the method you prefer, ensure that your bullion is safe so that you can continue to enjoy its benefits for many years.
How much money should I put into my Roth IRA?
Roth IRAs can be used to save taxes on your retirement funds. You can't withdraw money from these accounts before you reach the age of 59 1/2. However, if your goal is to withdraw funds before that time, there are certain rules you must observe. First, your principal (the original deposit amount) cannot be touched. This means that no matter how much you contribute, you can never take out more than what was initially contributed to this account. If you decide to withdraw more money than what you contributed initially, you will need to pay taxes.
The second rule is that you cannot withdraw your earnings without paying income taxes. When you withdraw, you will have to pay income tax. Consider, for instance, that you contribute $5,000 per year to your Roth IRA. Let's also say that you earn $10,000 per annum after contributing. This would mean that you would have to pay $3,500 in federal income tax. So you would only have $6,500 left. Since you're limited to taking out only what you initially contributed, that's all you could take out.
So, if you were to take out $4,000 of your earnings, you'd still owe taxes on the remaining $1,500. Additionally, half of your earnings would be lost because they will be taxed at 50% (half the 40%). So even though your Roth IRA ended up having $7,000, you only got $4,000.
There are two types of Roth IRAs: Traditional and Roth. Traditional IRAs allow you to deduct pretax contributions from your taxable income. Your traditional IRA allows you to withdraw your entire contribution plus any interest. There is no limit on how much you can withdraw from a traditional IRA.
Roth IRAs are not allowed to allow you deductions for contributions. But once you've retired, you can withdraw the entire contribution amount plus any accrued interest. There is no minimum withdrawal limit, unlike traditional IRAs. It doesn't matter if you are 70 1/2 or older before you withdraw your contribution.
- If you accidentally make an improper transaction, the IRS will disallow it and count it as a withdrawal, so you would owe income tax on the item's value and, if you are younger than 59 ½, an additional 10% early withdrawal penalty. (forbes.com)
- Gold is considered a collectible, and profits from a sale are taxed at a maximum rate of 28 percent. (aarp.org)
- You can only purchase gold bars at least 99.5% purity. (forbes.com)
- Contribution limits$6,000 (49 and under) $7,000 (50 and up)$6,000 (49 and under) $7,000 (50 and up)$58,000 or 25% of your annual compensation (whichever is smaller) (lendedu.com)
- Indeed, several financial advisers interviewed for this article suggest you invest 5 to 15 percent of your portfolio in gold, just in case. (aarp.org)
- Saddam Hussein's InvasionHelped Uncage a Bear in 1990 – WSJ
- How do you keep your IRA Gold at Home? It's Not Exactly Lawful – WSJ
- Yahoo Finance – Barrick Gold Corporation Stock Price, News & Quote – Barrick Gold Corporation (GOLD).
Guidelines for Gold Roth IRA
The best way to invest for retirement is by starting early. As soon as you become eligible, which is usually around age 50, start saving and keep it up throughout your career. It is essential to save enough money each year in order to maintain a steady growth rate.
Additionally, tax-free opportunities like a traditional 401k or SEP IRA are available. These savings vehicles allow you to make contributions without paying taxes on earnings until they are withdrawn from the account. These savings vehicles can be a great option for individuals who don't qualify for employer matching funds.
Save regularly and continue to save over time. If you aren't contributing the maximum amount permitted, you could miss out on tax benefits.
By: Jaime García
Title: Should Bitcoiners Support Nayib Bukele’s Attempt At Re-Election?
Sourced From: bitcoinmagazine.com/culture/should-bitcoiners-support-bukele
Published Date: Wed, 21 Sep 2022 03:30:00 GMT
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