Despite his popularity, some critics contend that under El Salvador’s constitution, Bukele is not qualified for re-election. El Salvador’s president, Nayib Bukele, has submitted paperwork to run for re-election in the country’s forthcoming 2024 presidential election, which will take place in February.
Bukele, a Bitcoin supporter, garnered widespread public support on Oct. 26 after his party officially nominated him to compete for re-election. “Five more [years], five more and not one step back,” Bukele said in front of thousands of Salvadorans in a speech. “We need five years to continue improving our country,” he went on to say.
Bukele came to power in 2019 after his political party, Neuva (New) Ideas, ended the Nationalist Republican Alliance and the Farabundo Mart National Liberation Front’s three-decade control. Despite his popularity among the locals, detractors such as El Salvadoran lawyer Alfonso Fajardo argue that the country’s constitution forbids Bukele from running for a second straight term.”Today is a good day to remember that immediate presidential re-election is prohibited up to 7 times by the Constitution,” he said on the evening of Oct. 26.
However, El Salvador’s Supreme Court determined in September 2021 that presidents can compete for re-election multiple times. According to Reuters, New Ideas has the support of 70% of the country’s voting populace, citing a research conducted by an El Salvadoran university. Its nearest contender garnered only 4% of the total votes.
FMNLB, a competitor of New Ideas, filed a lawsuit in June 2021 alleging that Bukele’s Bitcoin adoption programme is unlawful. That complaint, however, was rendered moot when Bukele and El Salvador proclaimed Bitcoin legal tender three months later, in September 2021. Other tech-friendly initiatives undertaken by the Bukele government to enhance the country’s economy include the elimination of all taxes on technical advancements.
VanEck strategy advisor Gabor Gurbacs has stated that El Salvador has the potential to become the “Singapore of the Americas.” Much of Bukele’s popularity stems from his tough stance against MS-13, a multi-national gang that helped El Salvador achieve the highest homicide rate in the world six years ago.
As a result of the crackdown, El Salvador’s homicide rate has dropped by 92.6% from a high of 106 per 100,000 people in 2015 to 7.8 in 2022. It presently has one of Latin America’s lowest crime rates.However, the UN and other critics believe that El Salvador violated human rights rules by imprisoning 65,000 people without providing them with legal rights to defend themselves.