Nearshore Americas
President Nayib Bukele

Bukele’s Re-Election Bid in El Salvador Raises Constitutional Questions

President Nayib Bukele of El Salvador is seeking a second term in 2024, despite the country’s constitution prohibiting consecutive terms.

Bukele’s party, Nuevas Ideas, nominated him as its candidate for 2024’s presidential race, even though Salvadoran law requires the current president to ask Congress for a leave of absence by the end of the year.

Congress is controlled by Bukele’s opposition, however, so there is little hope of the leave being granted.

Bukele enjoys an 80% approval rating, a number unheard of in a country like El Salvador, known for its sporadic political strife.

Bukele’s popularity has been attributed to his brutal crackdown on drug gangs. According to local media reports, several communities that have suffered from endemic violence due to the drug war favour the current president in the polls.

The 41-year-old has jailed more than 60,000 people for being linked to drug gangs. The strategy has garnered harsh criticism from human rights organizations, but those criticisms have fallen mostly on deaf ears as crime rates fall, especially in San Salvador, the country’s capital.

Bukele’s crackdown lead to the building of several large prisons and the arrest anyone suspected of gang connections. It also lead to the reformation of the National Civil Police, which under the new strategy performs far more professionally.

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It remains to be seen whether Bukele will be able to overcome the constitutional challenges to his candidacy and win a second term. His popularity and the decrease in crime rates, nevertheless, suggest that he is a strong contender.

Narayan Ammachchi

News Editor for Nearshore Americas, Narayan Ammachchi is a career journalist with a decade of experience in politics and international business. He works out of his base in the Indian Silicon City of Bangalore.

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