Thirty seven-year-old former mayor Nayib Bukele has been elected President of El Salvador, vowing to root out poverty and rid the country of corrupt politicians.
His election ends the dominance of two political parties, which took turns to enjoy power in the country for more than three decades.
The President-elect, who needs to form an alliance with right-wing parties, is facing a daunting task of reviving the economy hit hard by corruption scandals and seemingly endless violence by drug gangs.
Electoral officials have bought two days of time to declare the result officially, despite opposition candidates conceding defeat. Bukele had earned more than 53% of votes when the most votes were counted on Sunday.
He ran much of his campaign on social media, promising to reform the country plagued by poverty and gang violence. He portrayed himself as ‘a ray of hope’ promising to set up an anti-corruption commission with the support of the United Nations to probe the political scandals.
A commission of that kind is already active in neighboring Guatemala.
Politicians in in El Salvador badly lack credibility and trust, with two of the country’s former presidents facing serious corruption charges. While, Tony Saca, former president, is serving 10-year prison sentence, Mauricio Funes has fled to Nicaragua to avoid arrest in a financial embezzlement.
Bukele may have managed to win the election on the platform of anti-corruption but ending corruption in the Central American country is easier said than done, say analysts.