El Salvador votes for new president, Nayib Bukele in the lead

Early results from the electoral tribunal on Sunday indicate presidential hopeful Nayib Bukele is on track to win a first-round victory in the presidential elections.

El Salvador falg Source: Shutterstock

Salvadorans voted in first round presidential elections on Sunday, with early votes just three hours after polls closed, indicating a win for Bukele.

Bukele’s votes came in just over majority at 52% with returns counted from 34.4% of polling stations, according to the electoral tribunal.

Bukele was a former mayor who campaigned as an anti-corruption outsider and describes himself as a leftist, with formed coalitions with other parties.

After its civil war in 1992, El Salvador was governed by leftists from the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) and its rival, the conservative Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA).

The former anti-corruption mayor needs more than 50% of votes to win the presidency, putting an end to the two-party system that has governed for the past three decades.

Challenges ahead for El Salvador’s next president

Analysts say El Salvador's next president will face challenges ahead, including US president Donald Trump's criticism of Central American governments, and issues around migration to the US.

The new president will also have to try to kick-start the country’s economy, combat corruption and tackle one of the highest homicide rates in the world, which many voters say will be too difficult for Bukele, given his lack of experience.

Bukele, says he wants to create an international anti-corruption commission with the support of the UN, following similar committees in Guatemala and Honduras.

‘We'll create a (commission) ... so that the corrupt can't hide where they always hide, instead they'll have to give back what they stole,’ Bukele said in January.

While criticised for siding with the left, Bukele has recently turned away from Latin America's traditional left, branding Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro as a dictator.

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