Home Business El Salvador President Bukele declares himself winner of election By Reuters

El Salvador President Bukele declares himself winner of election By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele speaks during the inauguration of the Vijosa pharmaceutical plant in Santa Tecla, El Salvador November 20, 2023. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas/File Photo

By Nelson Renteria and Sarah Kinosian

SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) -President Nayib Bukele on Sunday declared himself winner of El Salvador’s national elections in a landslide, claiming he captured more than 85% of the vote – even though electoral officials have not released any results.

Bukele was the heavy favourite to win another five-year term as voters largely cast aside concerns about erosion of democracy to reward him for a fierce gang crackdown that improved security in the Central American country.

Bukele, 42, said his New Ideas party also captured at least 58 positions in El Salvador’s 60-seat legislative assembly, citing unspecified information that he had access to.

“A record in the entire democratic history of the world,” Bukele said on X, the social media site. “See you at 9pm in front of the National Palace.”

Electoral officials have not commented on the results yet. Polls closed at 5 p.m. (2300 GMT), about two hours before Bukele claimed victory. An exit poll by CID Gallup put Bukele’s support at 87%.

Bukele now appears poised to become the first Salvadoran president in almost a century to be re-elected.

Wildly popular, Bukele has campaigned on the success of his security strategy under which authorities suspended civil liberties to arrest more than 75,000 Salvadorans without charges. The detentions led to a sharp decline in nationwide murder rates and transformed a country of 6.3 million people that was once among the world’s most dangerous.

But some analysts have said the mass incarceration of 1% of the population is not sustainable long-term.

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