Ruling paves the way for incumbent Nayib Bukele to stand for re-election in 2024.
El Salvadorâ€™s top court has ruled that the countryâ€™s president can serve two consecutive terms, opening the door for incumbent Nayib Bukele to stand for re-election in 2024.
Issued late on Friday, the ruling was handed down by judges appointed by lawmakers from Bukeleâ€™s ruling party in May after they had removed the previous justices, a step that was decried by critics as a â€œcoup dâ€™etatâ€ and drew strong criticism from the United States and other foreign powers.
The constitutional chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice ordered the Supreme Electoral Tribunal to enable a president who had not been in office â€œin the immediately preceding period to participate in the electoral contest for a second occasionâ€.
The decision could potentially make popular but divisive Bukele, 40, the first president to serve more than five years in office since the 1950s.
Bukeleâ€™s government has also readied a constitutional reform that aims to extend the presidential term to six years from five, and include the possibility of revoking the presidentâ€™s mandate, among other steps.
That has yet to go to El Salvadorâ€™s Congress, which Bukeleâ€™s party and its allies control.
There was no immediate comment by Bukele on the courtâ€™s ruling.
In 2014, the same court ruled that presidents would have to wait 10 years after leaving office to be re-elected.
Elected in 2019, Bukele enjoys broad support in El Salvador over his promises to fight organised crime and improve security in the violence-racked country.
But he has long been accused of authoritarian tendencies.
Last year, Bukele dispatched troops to the countryâ€™s parliament in a bid to pressure lawmakers.