The Challenges for Nayib Bukele, President-elect of El Salvador: two Alianza Americas leaders provide analysis

San Salvador, February 6, 2019 –   On the third of February, El Salvador experienced a major historical change.  The outsider candidate, 37-year-old Nayib Bukele was elected president, breaking a thirty-year duopoly of political power between the two most important political parties created after the Peace Agreements– the right-wing ARENA party and the ex-”guerrilla” FMLN.

Under the party banner of the Great Alliance for National Unity (GANA- a party formed in 201 by ARENA dissidents) and using a social-media driven campaign strategy, the former mayor of San Salvador won in the first round of voting with 53% of the total votes cast.  Voter turnout represented 50 % of those authorized to vote, according to the preliminary report of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.

With that, Bukele put an end to the third FMLN government and blocked ARENA from retaking the presidency it lost in 2009.

In addition to a strong presence in social media, the Bukele campaign was characterized by its absence from forums and debates with opponents.  As a result, there are few clear answers to some important questions about his plans for governance.

What does Bukele’s election mean? What are the key challenges his government will face? What do leaders in the Salvadoran diaspora expect from this new government?

Óscar Chacón, Executive Director of Alianza Americas, and Abel Nuñez, Executive Director of CARECEN DC and Alianza Americas Board member respond to these and other questions about the February 3rd elections.  These videos were recorded just a few hours after Bukele’s victory. (Click “cc” on the video to get English Sub-titles).

Oscar Chacón

Abel Nuñez

Elections observation delegation- CARECEN-Alianza Americas

CARECEN DC, with support from Alianza Americas, led an international delegation to observe the Salvadoran presidential elections. In addition to observing the polls on election day, the delegation members met with civil society organizations and violence-prevention organizations; attended candidate forums; and met with experts in academia and the media to learn more about the political and social context in El Salvador.

Delegates hailed from Georgetown University, Meyer Foundation, La Clínica del Pueblo, CARECEN San Francisco, COTSA, CAIR Coalition, HIP/CAMMINA, and  Foundry United Methodist Church.

See below a video with comment from the delegates on their visit to El Salvador.