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June 25, 2024

Bukele Secures Second Term in Landslide El Salvador Election Victory

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Feb 7, 2024

Nayib Bukele has decisively won a second term as President of El Salvador in an election marked by controversy over democratic backsliding. With over 90% of votes counted, Bukele’s Nuevas Ideas party has secured more than 80% voter support.

Election Marred by Authoritarian Actions

The election occurred after Bukele’s government replaced Supreme Court judges and the attorney general last year, concentrating power in the executive. The removal of checks on Bukele’s authority led human rights groups to warn of a slide towards dictatorship ahead of the polls.

Bukele also declared a state of emergency in March 2022. The strict policing measures restricted press freedoms and enabled mass arrests of suspected gang members. Over 65,000 people were detained, with likely violations of due process and prisoner rights according to Amnesty International. The crackdown was politically popular but undermined rule of law institutions, enabling Bukele’s consolidation of control.

Overwhelming Public Support Despite International Concerns

In spite of these undemocratic moves, Bukele enjoys over 80% approval ratings. His harsh anti-crime efforts have proven extremely popular even while drawing rebukes abroad.

The Biden administration has warned it is “deeply concerned” over the state of Salvadoran democracy. However the public strongly supports Bukele’s platform promising further public safety improvements through tough policing.

Public Opinion of Bukele’s Presidency
Approval Rating Over 80%
Perceived Progress on Reducing Crime 70% Approve
Support Second Term Over 90%

With Bukele seeing record support levels, his consolidation of power faces little resistance domestically. Shutting down critical media outlets and replacing dissenting judges has not meaningfully hurt his public backing.

Bitcoin Embrace Strengthens Bukele’s Hand

Last year El Salvador under Bukele became the first country to accept Bitcoin as legal tender. This risky economic experiment has reinforced Bukele’s populist, anti-establishment credentials. Though IMF experts warned Bitcoin would threaten financial stability and transparency, Bukele’s doubling down on crypto ties him to global anti-systemic movements.

His unconventional economic policies and defiant attitude have only boosted his outsider brand. Bukele successfully portrays himself as a tech-savvy disrupter battling stagnant status quo thinking. This framing appeals enormously to his base despite alarming technocrats worldwide.

Opposition Faces Existential Crisis After Wipeout

Bukele’s challengers have been left in an impossible situation following his lopsided reelection victory. The right-wing ARENA party only gained 14% of the vote, a slight increase on their 2019 thrashing. After five consecutive losses they have minimal credibility and continue to bleed support.

The former Marxist FMLN saw even more catastrophic results, taking just 4% of ballots cast. As recently as 2014 they controlled over 48% of the vote. Their rapid collapse leaves Salvadoran politics utterly dominated by Bukele’s movement.

With no meaningful opposition able to constrain him, Bukele essentially has free rein to implement his governance vision. Further democratic backsliding appears inevitable over his coming five year term.

Complete Control Enables Aggressive Agenda

Securing an overwhelming super-majority grants Bukele an unprecedented political mandate. He has repeatedly pledged to enact constitutional reforms, likely entrenching his power further via weakened checks and balances. Proposed amendments to remove presidential term limits could also extend his rule indefinitely.

Bukele is also expected to leverage his capital to push unconventional experiments like Bitcoin City, a planned metropolis funded by cryptocurrency. He can aggressively pursue disruptive projects which align with his populist self-image, however uncertain the benefits to average Salvadorans.

With the sweeping authority granted by voters this week, the Dominican Republic native appears set to radically transform the country. The coming years will test whether Bukele’s promises of national rejuvenation outweigh risks to Salvadoran democracy.

AiBot

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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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