Elections in El Salvador

El Salvador went to the polls on 4 February, with its citizens voting for its President, Vice President and members of its National Assembly. Late on election day, Nayib Bukele claimed he and his party had garnered over 85% of the vote, and that Nuevas Ideas would take at least 58 of the National Assembly's 60 seats.

That overwhelming victory came following an historic reduction in violence in the Central American country, once amongst the world's most violent, amidst a crackdown on gangs which has resulted in the incarceration of many thousands of Salvadorans. 1% of El Salvador's adult population is now in prison.

From its critics, that incarceration campaign has led to allegations of numerous human rights violations by El Salvador's government, including arbitrary detentions, torture and other abuses.

Bukele and his government have also faced accusations of anti-democratic practices. Until a 2021 constitutional ruling, enacted by Supreme Court judges appointed only shortly prior by a congress dominated by Bukele's party, El Salvador's president could serve for just one term. The constitutional legitimacy of Bukele's reelection remains contentious.

With Bukele and Nuevas Ideas sweeping to a virtually uncontested electoral victory, what comes next for El Salvador after the election?

Canning House and our panel discussed the election's results and implications for El Salvador.


Ramiro Blazquez, Head of Research & Strategy, BancTrust & Co.

Dr. Christine Wade, Chair, Political Science, Washington College. Louis L. Goldstein Professor of Public Affairs

Dr. Antonella Bandiera, Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science, ITAM; Visiting Fellow at the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, UCSD

Manuel Meléndez, Peace and Security Scholar, US Institute of Peace; PhD candidate in Political Science, Harvard University

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