El Salvador’s Bukele Declares Himself President After Winning 85% of the Vote

What You Need to Know:

Nayib Bukele, 43rd President of El Salvador has this evening declared himself and his New Ideas party re-elected, as votes from the nation’s election begin rolling in. 

In a post on X, Bukele claimed, “According to our numbers, we have won the Presidential election with more than 85% of the votes and a minimum of 58 of 60 deputies in the Assembly.”

However, official polling data is yet to be released. 

The Details:

In December 2023, Bukele and his Vice President, Félix Ulloa, were granted six months leave by Congress to campaign for the country’s election in February, with Bukele’s Private Secretary assuming the role of Interim leader until May 2024. 

The granting of the leave enabled Bukele and Ulloa to maneuver around a constitutional ban on second Presidential terms. Article 154 of the El Salvadoran constitution states, “The presidential term will be five years and will begin and end on June 1, without the person who has held the presidency being able to continue in their functions even one more day.”

The ban acts as a safety measure in a region which was once a stronghold for military dictators, against politicians who seek to assume power and hold leadership positions indefinitely. 

However, Bukele’s high approval ratings are the result of his party’s hardline approach to gangs. 

Bukele’s Gang Policy:

In March 2022, following a surge in gang-related homicides, President Bukele invoked emergency powers to temporarily suspend the constitutional right to free assembly, the inviolability of correspondence and communications and ordered an extension of administrative detention, in order to target El Salvador’s most violent gangs. 

Furthermore, a bill was introduced which outlawed the relaying of gang graffiti, the relaying of gang messages, as well as “any form of visual expression” related to El Salvador’s notorious gangs. 

The new legislation resulted in more than 68,000 incarcerations, many without trial, which rights groups claim have led to gross abuses of human rights. 

Despite these claims, Bukele still has overwhelming support in the nation, much in part due to his hardline approach to gangs, and ‘modern approach’ to governance, for example, El Salvador became the first country in the world to recognise Bitcoin as legal tender. 

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Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger is a Political Science Graduate from the University of Otago, New Zealand. Currently working as an Editor for The ModernInsurgent and writing for Atlas News, her interests include conflict politics, history, yoga and meditation.
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