Promoted by President Nayib Bukele, the bill was approved by 66 of 84 lawmakers. As of the next legislature, therefore, the number of representatives will decrease to 60. His proposal was approved without parliamentary analysis or discussion.
"With this reform we are not only going to reduce the number of representatives, but also we are leaving behind the waste system that violates the constitutional principle of equal voting," Interior Minister Juan Carlos Bidegain said.
Previously, the number of lawmakers was determined using the Hare formula, which divided the votes cast in a given constituency among the seats contested there.
This quotient was then used to assign the parties as many seats as times they reached that quotient with their votes. If there were seats to be assigned after this partial procedure, the electoral authorities resorted to the largest residuals of each party for the allocation of seats.
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With the recently approved proposal, El Salvador will use the D'Hondt system, a method to distribute seats in proportion to the number of votes obtained by political parties.
Once the elections are held, the votes obtained by each party are ordered from highest to lowest and the candidacies that do not reach a minimum percentage of ballots are discarded.
Bukele says that these changes will allow "reducing state spending, promoting equal voting, implementing the election by quotient, and promoting decision-making in favor of the population."
Nevertheless, Citizen Action, an independent organization, holds that the reduction in the number of lawmakers is due to a calculation by Bukele and his New Ideas party.
"It seeks to create conditions for New Ideas to obtain or retain a majority in the Legislative Assembly," Citizen Action analyst Eduardo Escobar said, explaining that the 2024 elections will also be accompanied by a change in the constituencies, which will allow Bukele obtain over 80 percent of the seats.