Nayib Bukele confirmed his vertiginous rise by not just defeating but eviscerating the duopoly that has dominated El Salvador’s political scene for the last 30 years in the first round of presidential elections on 3 February. Bukele won more votes than all his rivals combined to become the region’s youngest head of state and underpin the triumph of personalism over party politics which has become a regionwide phenomenon. Just like Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Jair Bolsonaro, who swept to power in Mexico and Brazil last year, Bukele channelled a tide of anger and resentment over official corruption but, also like them, he has raised expectations sky high. With a yawning fiscal deficit these will not be easy to meet.

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