Who is Nayib Bukele, the new elected president of El Salvador?

Source:  La Santa Mambisa;  Cubadebate
February 4 2019

nayib bekele el salvador.jpgThe elected president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele. Photo: Europa Press

The former mayor of the Salvadoran capital, Nayib Bukele, won Sunday in the presidential elections with more than 53% of the valid votes.

Although the vote count did not yet reach 100%, the president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), Julio Olivo, acknowledged that Bukele’s triumph is “definitive” and “irreversible”, when there was little more than 10 to be scrutinized. % of the votes.

The ruling Farabundo Martí Front for National Liberation (FMLN) took less than 15% of the vote after eight years of continuous government, while the traditional right was in second place with about 32%.

The winning option was the integration of Bukele, former militant of the front, with the Great Alliance for National Unity (GANA) , which brings together right-wing forces.

“It’s a victory for the Salvadoran people, today we won in the first round and we made history,” said Bukele, who came to the poll as a favorite in all the polls.

His victory marks the end of bipartisanship since the return of democracy in El Salvador , which had alternated between Arena (1989-2009) and the FMLN (from 2009 to the present).

Hugo Martínez, the Front candidate, acknowledged his defeat and announced that his party will make an “iron” opposition.

Martinez said he was satisfied with the work done with his running mate Karina Sosa, vice presidential candidate, despite the fact that the result in the elections is not favorable.

“We hope they will make a government according to the expectations that this government has set, because there are very high expectations and we hope that they will be met. We will continue fighting to ensure that this people is fulfilled so that there is more social justice in El Salvador, “said Martinez.

Who is Bukele?

The young advertising executive of 37 years will be in charge of a country marked by violence and corruption, two of the issues on which he focused his campaign.

Of Palestinian origin, Bukele began his political career at the FMLN, which led him to govern the Salvadoran capital (2015-2018), although his political career started in 2012 as mayor of a small town, Nuevo Cuscatlán (2012-2015).

Regarding his academic training, he has a degree in Law from Universidad CentroAmericana (UCA), but his career has been mainly as an entrepreneur since he was 18 years old. He is married since 2014 and awaiting his son.

Bukele’s political career has its origin in his family, since his father, the doctor in Industrial Chemistry, Armando Bukele Kattán, is recognized for the support he offered to the FMLN while this formation was guerrilla in the armed conflict of the country in the decade of 1980, says Xinhua.

This sympathy resulted in Nayib militating in the FMLN that became a political party after the peace agreements of 1992 and it was with this group that he reached the mayoralty of Nuevo Cuscatlán in 2012.

His good management in that municipality near the Salvadoran capital, earned him the FMLN promoted him as a candidate for mayor of San Salvador, where, in coalition with the Progressive Salvadoran Party, won the city’s governorship until 2018.

As mayor of El Salvador, Bukele imposed his youthful and renovating style, with projects to rescue the historic center and illumination of the city and rescue public spaces, which earned him high levels of approval from the public during his tenure.

In 2017, a confrontation with a councilor from San Salvador caused the FMLN’s Ethics Tribunal to accuse him of violating the principles of the party and expelled him from the group on October 10.

Only 15 days after his expulsion, Bukele announced on social networks the creation of the New Ideas party, whose formation could not formally register in the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) until August 2018, which forced him to start the presidential race under another flag.

For this electoral campaign, Bukele assumed a frontal and confrontational style before the bipartisanship that has alternated the power in El Salvador in the last three decades, 20 years of ARENA and 10 of the FMLN.

“They told us that it was impossible to improve our communities, they told us that it was impossible to revitalize the heart of the Historical Center. Now they are trying to say that it is impossible to have a better country for each one of us, and you know what? They are still wrong, “he said at the closing ceremony of his campaign in San Salvador.

Likewise, he was frontal in his criticism of corruption in the country. Bukele based his campaign and platform on the slogan “Money reaches when nobody steals”.

The winner of the presidential elections is awaiting two trials in the courts on charges of sexist violence and slander.

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