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Bukele is Reelected President in El Salvador with more than 80% of the Vote


Bukele El Salvador
Bukele is reelected president in El Salvador with more than 80% of the vote – Credit: Speaker Office Nancy Pelosi / Public Domain

Nayib Bukele has been reelected president of El Salvador, with more than 80% of the votes. The president proclaimed himself the winner of the elections with only 20% of the votes counted, a few hours before the polls closed. The polls already predicted a landslide victory for the current head of state, who would thus be the first president to be reelected since the Constitution was approved in 1983.

The Salvadoran Magna Carta explicitly forbids a president to be reelected for a new consecutive term, but Bukele got the Salvadoran justice, controlled by the legislative power where the president has a wide majority, to endorse his candidacy.

In the legislative elections also held yesterday, Nuevas Ideas, the president’s party, obtained another overwhelming result, winning around 60 of the 84 deputies of the Legislative Assembly. In this way, the Salvadoran president will continue to control the three branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial, without any kind of opposition.

The success of the “hard line”

Nayib Bukele’s landslide victory came as no surprise. All polls predicted a landslide victory for the current head of state, despite the maneuver of supposedly stepping aside from power two months ago, in order to be eligible for reelection, in a clearly partisan interpretation of the constitutional text.

The success of the Central American leader has been his open policy of “hard line” against gangs and criminal groups that for decades have plagued El Salvador with violence. According to official data, previously frequent crimes such as extortion have practically disappeared from Salvadoran streets.

Thus, his approval ratings before the elections hovered around 90%, after five years in office. With the data in hand, in 2015 El Salvador became the country with the highest number of violent deaths per number of inhabitants in the world. Today, those rates have dropped dramatically and the government presents El Salvador as one of the safest countries in the Americas.

The country’s two traditional parties, the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) and the rightist Arena, would not total more than 11% of the votes between them.

Security and human rights

This “war on gangs” declared by El Salvador has led to the usual debate about security versus human rights. However, it is a debate that essentially takes place externally, as the overwhelming electoral support obtained by the country’s president sends a clear message that, at least internally, there is no discussion.

Since March 2022, when the president declared a state of emergency, a regime that allows the elimination of some of the rights provided by the Constitution, more than 75,000 people have been detained in El Salvador.

Reports of thousands of arbitrary detentions, abuses, torture and strange deaths in prisons have had no effect on the popularity of a president who offers security at any price, a product that the citizenry has widely endorsed at the polls.

“Today, El Salvador has broken all the records of all democracies in the history of the world,” Bukele said after the first results were known. “Never has a project won with the amount of votes we have won this day. It is literally the highest percentage in all history”, said the president in his speech from the National Palace.

“For the first time there is a single party in a country with a fully democratic system. All the opposition together was pulverized. El Salvador has made history again today,” Bukele added euphorically.

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