SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — Salvadorans packed the capital’s central square Sunday evening to celebrate the expected reelection of Nayib Bukele as president even before any official results were announced.
With soaring approval ratings and virtually no competition, Nayib Bukele was almost certainly headed for a second 5-year term as president. After voting, he jousted with reporters, asserting that the election’s results would serve as a “referendum” on his administration.
Two hours after polling places closed, and without any official returns announced, Bukele said on the platform X that “according to our numbers” he had won. Later, standing on the balcony of the National Palace, he said that the country had made history despite only partial, preliminary results.
“Why are there so many eyes on a small (Latin) American country?” he asked thousands of supporters. “They’re afraid of the power of example.”
“Salvadorans have given the example to the entire world that any problem can be solved if there is the will to do it,” he said.
The Supreme Electoral Tribunal began sharing partial, preliminary results around 9 p.m. With votes from 31% of polling places tallied, Bukele had more than 11 times the number of votes as his nearest competitor in the leftist Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front.
Electoral officials said at a news conference that voting systems had worked as expected and without problems.
Bukele, the self-described “world’s coolest dictator,” has gained fame for his brutal crackdown on gangs, in which more than 1% of the country’s population has been arrested.
Bukele said the vote could be seen as a “referendum” on what his administration had done.