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May 23, 2024

Bukele Secures Decisive Reelection Victory in El Salvador Amid Democracy Concerns

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Feb 6, 2024

Nayib Bukele has won a decisive reelection victory to serve another 5-year term as President of El Salvador. With over 90% of votes counted, Bukele has secured over 85% of the vote according to election authorities, ensuring his New Ideas party will continue its dominance over Salvadoran politics.

Landslide Win Cement’s Bukele’s Authoritarian Rule

Bukele’s overwhelming win grants him an unprecedented level of power in the small Central American nation. His party and allies also secured firm control over El Salvador’s legislature, with over 80 of the 84 seats. This cements Bukele’s authoritarian rule and eliminates any remaining checks and balances.

“The Salvadoran political regime has been transformed from flawed democracy to electoral autocracy,” said analyst Oliver Stuenkel.

Bukele has faced mounting criticism from international observers and human rights groups for undermining El Salvador’s democracy through intimidation of opponents, suppressing free speech, and concentrating power. However, he remains wildly popular at home due to his tough policies against violent gangs.

His victory speech pledged even harsher measures. “We have 100,000 gang members either in prison or in cemeteries, more will follow,” Bukele told cheering supporters. “This is no longer a war between gangs, but a war against gangs.”

Crackdown Elicits Praise and Concern

Bukele launched an aggressive anti-gang crackdown last March after a spike in homicides. The crackdown has jailed over 50,000 suspected gang members without due process and reduced murders dramatically.

Bukele’s law-and-order policies are central to his widespread domestic support. Many Salvadorans see him as their protector.

“He’s done what no president has done, he helps the poor, gives scholarships to students and confronts criminals,” said voter Carolina Recinos.

However, Bukele’s crackdown has been marked by allegations of human rights abuses, with watchdog groups reporting arbitrary detentions, torture, and extrajudicial police killings. The US State Department, United Nations, and others have accused Bukele of rights violations and falling democratic standards.

“El Salvador is suffering one of the worst human rights crises in its history,” said Human Rights Watch.

Bitcoin Policies Also Secure Reelection

In addition to his crackdown on crime, Bukele’s unorthodox decision to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender also boosted his popularity, especially with young voters eager for economic alternatives.

Bitcoin has given El Salvador global notoriety and Bukele messianic status among international cryptocurrency advocates. After initial skepticism, the Bitcoin rollout is increasingly seen as a success inside El Salvador as well.

Bukele frequently promotes Bitcoin through social media. His Narcos-inspired Twitter profile description as the ‘CEO of El Salvador’ elicits admiration from supporters and critics alike.

“Bukele is by far the most shrewd political communicator in Latin America,” according to Brazilian analyst Oliver Stuenkel.

What Next for El Salvador Under Bukele?

With his power now firmly entrenched for the next 5 years due to the landslide victory, observers expect Bukele’s rule to become more authoritarian rather than less. Very few obstacles remain to challenge his consolidation of control.

Bukele is likely to continue his hardcore policies against gangs in the name of ‘public security’. More constitutional changes to expand executive power appear probable as well.

Growing human rights and democracy concerns mean relations with the United States and other Western allies may deteriorate further. However, Bukele seems unconcerned with international criticism thus far, given his genuine widespread domestic support.

“Bukele feels very much empowered, that he doesn’t really need international support,” said Latin America expert Tiziano Breda.

Election Result Vote Share
Nayib Bukele 85%
All Other Candidates 15%

With no real checks on his power anymore, Bukele’s next 5 years in control of El Salvador appear likely to lead down an increasingly authoritarian path, cementing his personalized rule backed by enthusiastic supporters. Where exactly Bukele’s ambitious vision for El Salvador leads remains to be seen. But his decisive reelection ensures complete authority to implement his campaign slogan promising “Better Lives for Everyone.”

References

  1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/02/06/bukele-nayib-el-salvador-president-coolest-dictator-global-international/
  2. https://apnews.com/article/el-salvador-nayib-bukele-president-reelection-ef04e20d901908099f4f787b841aca89
  3. https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/02/world/americas/el-salvador-bukele-election.html
  4. https://www.foreign.senate.gov/press/dem/release/cardin-durbin-kaine-merkley-statement-on-elections-in-el-salvador
  5. https://www.cnn.com/2024/02/05/americas/el-salvador-election-results-intl/index.html
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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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