Palestinian Nayib Bukele wins El Salvador’s 2019 presidential election
Nayib Bukele, whose parents migrated from Palestine, won the 2019 presidential elections in El Salvador for the conservative Great National Alliance (GANA) party.
In 2015, Bukele became mayor of San Salvador. His family migrated to El Salvador in the 20th century. His win severed the decades long bipartisan control of the government.
Gaining 54% of the votes with 90% of them counted, the Supreme Electoral Court announced Bukele won the presidency. His presidential rival, Carlos Callejas of the right-wing Nationalist Republican party, received less than 32% of the votes, while former Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez of the left-wing popular party Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) came in third. Bukele was a member of FMLN before he was expelled for criticizing it.
According to NPR, Bukele told the crowd, “Viva La Vida! This day is a historic day. This day, El Salvador destroyed the bipartisanship.”
— Hagamos Historia (@HHistoriaSV) February 4, 2019
Bukele’s campaign slogan was, “There’s enough money when no one steals,” and ran a campaign on strong anti-gang rhetoric, even though his campaign has been linked to some gangs in the past. The online publication El Faro reported that Bukele formed pacts with three of the country’s main gangs in 2015 when he was a mayoral candidate.
In 1992, the civil war between the U.S.-backed Salvadoran military and FMLN left many dead, and allowed organized crime to grow and influence political parties. They have had many political corruption scandals and the parties have been unable or unwilling to curb violence, which Bukele was able to capitalize on.