El Salvador votes in presidential election that the 'world’s coolest dictator' has clear path to win - EVOL

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — Salvadorans voted in presidential and legislative elections Sunday, with many expressing willingness to forego some elements of democracy if it means keeping gang violence at bay.

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 announced on the platform X that “according to our numbers” he had won. Preliminary official results were not expected before late Sunday.

El Salvador’s constitution prohibits reelection. Nonetheless, about eight out of 10 voters support Bukele, according to a January poll from the University of Central America. That’s despite Bukele taking steps throughout his first term that lawyers and critics say chip away at the country’s system of checks and balances.

After his party was victorious in 2021 legislative elections, the newly elected congress purged the country’s constitutional court, replacing judges with loyalists. They later ruled that Bukele could run for a second term despite the constitutional ban on reelection.

Bukele’s administration has arrested more than 76,000 people since a

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