{"code":"25452","sect":"El Salvador","sect_slug":"el-salvador","hits":"3805","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/en\/202105\/el_salvador\/25452","link_edit":"","name":"Bukele's Legislative Assembly Ousts Supreme Court Magistrates and Attorney General","slug":"bukeles-legislative-assembly-ousts-supreme-court-magistrates-and-attorney-general","info":"In its first day in office, the new Legislative Assembly controlled by\u00a0Nayib Bukele's\u00a0party set aside constitutionally-mandated procedures in removing five magistrates from the Supreme Court\u2019s Constitutional Chamber, as well as the attorney general, and replacing them with party loyalists. The magistrates removed yesterday by the Assembly issued a resolution declaring the move unconstitutional, but Bukele mocked them on social media even as police officers escorted the newly-elected judges to their\u00a0offices. Domestic experts and the political opposition have called the moves a technical coup d\u2019etat. ( Leer en espa\u00f1ol )","mtag":"Corruption","noun":{"html":"\u003Cspan class='tint-text--dark' data_href='\/user\/profile\/jalvarado'\u003E Jimmy Alvarado\u003C\/span\u003E, \u003Cspan class='tint-text--dark' data_href='\/user\/profile\/rlazo'\u003E Roxana Lazo\u003C\/span\u003E y Sergio Arauz*","data":{"jimmy-alvarado":{"sort":"jalvarado","slug":"jimmy-alvarado","path":"jimmy_alvarado","name":"Jimmy Alvarado","edge":"0","init":"0"},"roxana-lazo":{"sort":"rlazo","slug":"roxana-lazo","path":"roxana_lazo","name":"Roxana Lazo","edge":"0","init":"1"},"sergio-arauz-":{"sort":"","slug":"sergio-arauz-","path":"sergio_arauz_","name":"Sergio Arauz*","edge":"1","init":"0"}}},"view":"3805","pict":{"cms-image-000035789-jpg":{"feat":"1","sort":"35789","name":"cms-image-000035789.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000035789.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000035789.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000035789-jpg","text":"<p>Suecy Callejas swore in Nuevas Ideas deputy Ernesto Castro as the new president of the Assembly. The Assembly\u2019s executive committee was divvied up between Nuevas Ideas and its allies. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003ESuecy Callejas swore in Nuevas Ideas deputy Ernesto Castro as the new president of the Assembly. The Assembly\u2019s executive committee was divvied up between Nuevas Ideas and its allies. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000035790-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"35790","name":"cms-image-000035790.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000035790.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000035790.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000035790-jpg","text":"<p>Nayib Bukele\u2019s cousin and president of Nuevas Ideas, Xavier Zablah Bukele, joined deputies from his party at the swearing-in of the new Assembly and spoke just before the start of the first plenary session. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003ENayib Bukele\u2019s cousin and president of Nuevas Ideas, Xavier Zablah Bukele, joined deputies from his party at the swearing-in of the new Assembly and spoke just before the start of the first plenary session. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000035791-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"35791","name":"cms-image-000035791.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000035791.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000035791.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000035791-jpg","text":"<p>The National Civil Police sent guards to the entryway of the Supreme Court to secure the arrival of the new magistrates elected by Nuevas Ideas and their allies. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EThe National Civil Police sent guards to the entryway of the Supreme Court to secure the arrival of the new magistrates elected by Nuevas Ideas and their allies. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000035792-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"35792","name":"cms-image-000035792.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000035792.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000035792.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000035792-jpg","text":"<p>Un agente de la PNC interpela a un vigilante de la FGR, ''Abra que aqu\u00ed venimos a una misi\u00f3n oficial'', dijo el polic\u00eda al seguridad cuando el personal de la PNC lleg\u00f3 a las instalaciones de la FGR escoltando al fiscal Rodolfo Delgado. Foto de El Faro: Carlos Barrera<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EUn agente de la PNC interpela a un vigilante de la FGR, ''Abra que aqu\u00ed venimos a una misi\u00f3n oficial'', dijo el polic\u00eda al seguridad cuando el personal de la PNC lleg\u00f3 a las instalaciones de la FGR escoltando al fiscal Rodolfo Delgado. Foto de El Faro: Carlos Barrera\u003C\/p\u003E"}},"pict_main__sort":35789,"date":{"live":"2021\/05\/02"},"data_post_dateLive_YY":"2021","data_post_dateLive_MM":"05","data_post_dateLive_DD":"02","text":"\u003Cp id=\"docs-internal-guid-427ab759-7fff-b24b-6f0c-61d4858e0e68\" dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn its first plenary session on Saturday, May 1, El Salvador\u2019s recently-elected Legislative Assembly, controlled by the government-aligned party, Nuevas Ideas, set aside constitutional procedure in removing five magistrates of the Supreme Court\u2019s Constitutional Chamber and substituting them with judges loyal to President Nayib Bukele. Minutes later, the Assembly removed Attorney General Ra\u00fal Melara and replaced him with former lead prosecutor for organized crime, Rodolfo Delgado. Both decisions \u2014 approved with 64 of 84 Assembly votes thanks to the additional support of GANA, the PCN, and PDC \u2014 are efforts to remove the last institutional checks on the president\u2019s power since he took office in 2019, and whose party notched a blistering victory, one vote short of a supermajority, this February 28.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn the case of the Constitutional Court, the deputies \u2014 led by Ernesto Castro and Suecy Callejas, both of them members of Bukele\u2019s cabinet prior to the elections \u2014 argued that the five magistrates and four alternates issued rulings in the past year that violated the constitution, in the sense that they hampered aspects of the work of the Ministry of Health during the Covid-19 pandemic that still lingers in El Salvador. Formally, the magistrates were accused of \u201cconverting the Constitutional Chamber into a superpower\u201d above the other powers of the state by issuing \u201carbitrary and discriminatory rulings\u201d and violating \u201cthe separation of powers of the organs of the state, and concretely, those of the Executive.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe names of the Constitutional Chamber\u2019s new magistrates were kept secret, even from the Nuevas Ideas legislative bloc, until deputy Christian Guevara, the bloc\u2019s new leader, read them aloud during the plenary. Minutes later, and without evaluating the list, the Bukelista deputies elected the new magistrates: Luis Javier Su\u00e1rez Maga\u00f1a, Bukele\u2019s chief of the Public Information Access Unit (IAIP); H\u00e9ctor Na\u00fam Garc\u00eda, former prosecutor and professor at the Technological University; Jos\u00e9 \u00c1ngel P\u00e9rez Chac\u00f3n, advisor to the presidency who \u003Ca href=\"\/es\/202008\/el_salvador\/24770\/Juez-de-El-Mozote-a-Presidencia-%E2%80%9CLas-decisiones-judiciales-no-se-negocian-se-imponen%E2%80%9D.htm\"\u003Edefended the Army\u2019s refusal to release El Mozote files in court\u003C\/a\u003E; Elsy Due\u00f1as Lovo, a magistrate from the Administrative Disputes Chamber who has opposed the release of Supreme Court documents on the personal finances of public officials; and \u00d3scar L\u00f3pez Jerez, a magistrate from the Civil Chamber, who has little experience in constitutional law and has been accused of \u003Ca href=\"\/es\/201609\/el_salvador\/19194\/El-magistrado-de-la-Corte-Suprema-que-dec%C3%ADa-tener-influencia-en-el-exfiscal-Mart%C3%ADnez.htm\"\u003Enegotiating favors with Luis Mart\u00ednez\u003C\/a\u003E, the former attorney general currently in prison for various crimes including embezzlement. L\u00f3pez Jerez was named president of the Supreme Court, a position selected from among the five magistrates of the Constitutional Chamber.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EPer article 185 of the Constitution, the list of candidates for magistrate of the Supreme Court should come from the National Council on the Judiciary, which would have submitted 30 names for consideration: half from an open call for applications that it would oversee and the other half from nominations of lawyers\u2019 associations across civil society. During the first plenary, though, Nuevas Ideas Christian Guevara read a list of five names without offering any arguments or background information on the nominees. Then, the new president of the Assembly, Ernesto Castro, gave a five-minute recess before the names were summarily approved, one by one, each with 64 votes.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=2000&ImageHeight=1333&ImageId=35789\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"Suecy Callejas swore in Nuevas Ideas deputy Ernesto Castro as the new president of the Assembly. The Assembly\u2019s executive committee was divvied up between Nuevas Ideas and its allies. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003ESuecy Callejas swore in Nuevas Ideas deputy Ernesto Castro as the new president of the Assembly. The Assembly\u2019s executive committee was divvied up between Nuevas Ideas and its allies. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EVarious legal experts have called what happened on May 1 a technical coup d\u2019etat. Amnesty International, the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), and the Due Process of Law Foundation are among the organizations who have condemned the removal of the magistrates. Diego Garc\u00eda Say\u00e1n, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, condemned the \u201csteps taken by the seat of power to dismantle and weaken the judicial independence of the magistrates and dismiss the members of the Constitutional Chamber.\u201d Luis Almagro, the secretary general of the Organization of American States who called critics of Bukele after the military occupation of the Legislative Assembly on February 9, 2020 \u201cconsistently hysterical,\u201d noted that he \u201crejects the dismissal\u201d of the magistrates and attorney general \u201cand the actions of the Executive that guided these decisions.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThat same night, just half an hour later, the Constitutional Chamber issued a resolution declaring the legislature\u2019s move unconstitutional. \u201cThis removal proceeding has not followed the necessary procedural guarantees,\u201d the resolution reads. According to the magistrates, the illegal removal proceedings were a form of coercion from the executive power. Throughout 2020, Bukele disobeyed various Chamber resolutions that declared a dozen executive orders and other policy moves unconstitutional and oversteps of executive power.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EBukele launched a public confrontation with the Chamber on those grounds, accusing the magistrates on Twitter of wishing \u201cthe deaths of hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans.\u201d In a national broadcast, he said that if he were a dictator, \u201cI would have had them all shot.\u201d \u201cYou save a thousand lives in exchange for five,\u201d he said on August 11, 2020. Shortly after the Chamber issued its resolution on May 1, Bukele mocked them on social media: \u201cThe removed magistrates writing a resolution is like Norman Quijano [former president of the Assembly] wanting to come here and legislate. Ah, no, I just remembered he fled to Honduras.\u201d Quijano fled the country just hours after his Assembly term expired and before the attorney general could issue an arrest warrant for alleged \u003Ca href=\"\/es\/202001\/el_salvador\/23975\/Norman-Quijano-prometi%C3%B3-a-pandilleros-eliminar-la-ley-antipandillas-seg%C3%BAn-la-Fiscal%C3%ADa.htm\"\u003Enegotiations with gangs\u003C\/a\u003E. The replacement attorney general, Ra\u00fal Melara, was also removed from office on Saturday night.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EMelara was removed on the grounds of \u201cclear proof of partisan affiliation\u201d with the Nationalist Republican Alliance (Arena). Melara, whose relationship with Bukele has oscillated between closeness and confrontation, opened an investigation in November into corruption within the Ministries of Health and the Treasury, for the handling of pandemic-related funds and purchases. Melara was also investigating \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202009\/el_salvador\/24785\/Bukele-Spent-A-Year-Negotiating-with-MS-13-for-a-Reduction-in-Homicides-and-Electoral-Support.htm\"\u003ENayib Bukele\u2019s secret negotiations with MS-13\u003C\/a\u003E, which El Faro revealed in September 2020.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe new attorney general, Rodolfo Delgado, was the senior prosecutor for organized crime under six attorney generals, most of them tied to Arena and its splinter party, GANA: Belisario Artiga (1999-2005); F\u00e9lix Garried Safie (2006-2009); Romeo Barahona (2009-2012); \u00c1stor Escalante (cinco meses de 2009); and part of the term of Luis Mart\u00ednez, who ended his term in 2015 and is now in prison for corruption.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=2000&ImageHeight=1333&ImageId=35790\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"Nayib Bukele\u2019s cousin and president of Nuevas Ideas, Xavier Zablah Bukele, joined deputies from his party at the swearing-in of the new Assembly and spoke just before the start of the first plenary session. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003ENayib Bukele\u2019s cousin and president of Nuevas Ideas, Xavier Zablah Bukele, joined deputies from his party at the swearing-in of the new Assembly and spoke just before the start of the first plenary session. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe removal of the Constitutional Chamber magistrates, without room for formal debate in the plenary or for the magistrates to defend themselves, received condemnations the same night by international organizations and the U.S. government. Julie Chung, acting assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs, issued a statement last night: \u201cA strong U.S.-El Salvador relationship will depend on the Government of El Salvador supporting the separation of powers and upholding democratic norms.\u201d The next morning, Secretary of State Antony Blinken revealed that he had just gotten off the phone with Bukele and expressed \u201cserious concerns\u201d over the moves against the Constitutional Chamber and attorney general.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EMultiple outspoken Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives also quickly condemned the removals, including Rep. Jim McGovern (MA), Rep. Albio Sires (NJ), and Rep. Norma Torres (CA). Biden\u2019s senior director for the Western Hemisphere on the National Security Council, Juan S. Gonz\u00e1lez, also weighed in: \u201cThat\u2019s not how things are done,\u201d he wrote, in response to a tweet from Jos\u00e9 Miguel Vivanco, executive director of Human Rights Watch, reading: \u201cBukele breaks away from the rule of law and looks to concentrate power in his own hands.\u201d\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe German Minister of State, Niels Annen, also spoke out on Twitter: \u201cVery concerned by the situation in El Salvador. I urgently call on the government and congress to respect the constitution and guarantee the division of powers.\u201d The Costa Rican Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement that Costa Rica \"is closely following the developments in El Salvador, and expresses concern for the events of recent hours\u201d The chancellor wrote on Sunday: \u201cWe call for respect for democratic institutions and the rule of law in El Salvador, through broad and transparent dialogue.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EBukele was quick to respond to his international critics on the night of the removal proceedings: \u201cTo our friends in the international community: We want to work with you, do business, travel, get to know each other, and help out when we can. Our doors are open wider than ever,\u201d he tweeted just after midnight. \u201cBut with all due respect: We\u2019re cleaning out our house\u2026 and that is none of your business.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003EThe Cyan Steamroller\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EOn May 1, what should have been a customary plenary session to mark the swearing-in of the new Legislative Assembly following the February 28 elections became a showcase for the enormous power that the Bukele administration and his party have attained. The night before, the official social media pages and website of the Assembly mysteriously changed logos before the new deputies had even taken office.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn the morning, the 20 opposition deputies \u2014 14 from Arena, four from the FMLN, one from Vamos and the last from Nuestro Tiempo \u2014 were shut out from preparatory meetings as the day\u2019s agenda was set and the membership of the new executive committee was negotiated behind their backs. The executive committee administers the resources of the Assembly and must approve every plenary agenda. Next, the overwhelming majority of Bukelista deputies disregarded parliamentary rules as the opposition\u2019s microphones were turned off and their requests for the floor denied. For a good portion of the session, their desks didn\u2019t display their names on the small LED screens; some screens showed only the name of the deputy\u2019s party, whereas other deputies\u2019 names were written on paper and stuck to the front of their desk. The opposition sat in the back.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EAnabel Belloso, deputy from the FMLN, called the day\u2019s events a coup d\u2019etat on Twitter: \"We oppose the coup d\u2019etat promoted by the Nuevas Ideas deputies against the magistrates of the Constitutional Chamber. Their initiative is antidemocratic, offers no previously-established legal reasoning, denies the right to a hearing and defense, and does not justify the expedited process.\u201d The head of Arena\u2019s legislative bloc, Ren\u00e9 Portillo Cuadra, concurred: \u201cWhat you\u2019re doing tonight, with the majority that the people gave you, is a coup d\u2019etat,\u201d he said, when the Assembly president finally granted the floor for comment to a member of the opposition just before 7:30pm. \u201cWe haven\u2019t concurred with our votes because we have a great responsibility. We need to transform our country, but not by trampling the constitution or the fundamental rights of others,\u201d he said.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThere was no known agenda for the first plenary. One deputy, a senior official from the executive branch, and two people who maintain constant communication with influential deputies in Nuevas Ideas told El Faro that, one day before the swearing-in of the new Assembly, they had no idea what the day\u2019s agenda would be. \u201cWe still don\u2019t know anything,\u201d said one of them, less than 18 hours before the ceremony, adding that even the deputies from Nuevas Ideas had no idea who would be on the Assembly\u2019s executive committee nor who would lead the party\u2019s legislative bloc. Christian Guevara, a communications strategist who worked for the Arena governments came under scrutiny for accepting dozens of government contracts under the Bukele administration, has assumed the role.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=2000&ImageHeight=1333&ImageId=35791\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"The National Civil Police sent guards to the entryway of the Supreme Court to secure the arrival of the new magistrates elected by Nuevas Ideas and their allies. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003EThe National Civil Police sent guards to the entryway of the Supreme Court to secure the arrival of the new magistrates elected by Nuevas Ideas and their allies. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn the president\u2019s innermost circle, according to two senior officials, there was debate as to how far the new Assembly should go in its first day: \u201cOn Thursday I learned that there was debate over whether to replace the attorney general in one fell swoop,\u201d one of the sources told El Faro. Other sources claim that there was debate over whether to also remove the members of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, the Court of Accounts, and the Public Defender (PGR) \u2014 moves which didn\u2019t take place.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EAt 9:35pm, an officer from the National Civil Police (PNC) ordered the detail guarding the door to the Supreme Court to block the entry of the newly-removed magistrates to their offices, an order which the officer receiving the order said he could not enforce. Right before 11, though, and despite the Constitutional Chamber\u2019s decree of unconstitutionality, the newly-elected magistrates entered the offices escorted by the police. Then, a half-hour past midnight, the PNC mounted an operation in official and unmarked vehicles to seize control of the Attorney General\u2019s Office and the country's new top prosecutor stepped foot in his office.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E*Additional reporting from Gabriela C\u00e1ceres and Roman Gressier\u003C\/p\u003E"}