Bukele is second from right to left, declaring himself re-elected, even before the count is complete.

After the presidential elections in El Salvador last Sunday (4), where current president Nayib Bukele claimed a decisive victory, the country now faces a new chapter of uncertainty and contestation. The Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) announced on Monday that a recount of the votes is necessary due to significant technical problems that arose during the counting process.

The president of the TSE stated that many of the votes cast in the presidential and parliamentary elections need to be revised due to technical problems. Although Bukele proclaimed his victory with an apparently comfortable lead, the vote count encountered obstacles, leaving a significant portion of voters in suspense.

With around 70% of the votes counted, Bukele, 42, led with 83% of the votes the morning after the elections. However, an outage in the electronic counting system raised concerns about the integrity of the results. As a result, approximately 30% of ballot boxes will have to undergo additional verification.

The problems were not limited to the presidential elections. In the simultaneous parliamentary elections, only 5% of votes were counted before serious problems such as duplication of votes in the data upload process arose.

In addition to the presidency, Bukele’s conservative party, Nuevas Ideas (New Ideas), claimed a landslide victory, claiming to have won at least 58 of 60 seats in El Salvador’s parliament.

However, the opposition, represented by the leftist BPR bloc, denounced the elections as a “farce” and rejected Bukele’s self-proclamation as winner. The BPR condemned Bukele’s re-election, alleging that there were illegal changes to the electoral system and violations of electoral laws.

Eduardo Escobar, director of the campaign group Ação Cidadã, highlighted that there were “irregularities” in the electoral process that need to be clarified to guarantee the transparency and legitimacy of the results.

Meanwhile, the Organization of American States (OAS) electoral observation mission expressed concern about the slow vote count and described the electoral campaign as atypical and uneven. Despite the setbacks in the counting process, the OAS stated that the data confirms the significant difference between the winner and the other candidates, reinforcing the legitimacy of the electoral results.

Authoritarian government

At 41, Bukele continues to shape the Salvadoran political landscape with an approach that has been criticized by many as authoritarian and undemocratic.

In 2019, Bukele became the youngest president in Latin America by gathering 53% of the vote, representing a wave of change in the country. However, his rise to power was not without controversy. In 2021, the Legislative Assembly, controlled by Bukele’s party, replaced five judges of the Supreme Court of Justice and the attorney general with loyal allies, allowing Bukele to run in the 2024 presidential elections after a temporary removal from office.

This political maneuver, which circumvented the constitutional restrictions of consecutive presidential terms, reflects the control exercised by Bukele over the country’s sovereign bodies. With a Legislative Assembly dominated by his party, Bukele was able to consolidate his power and shape the political landscape to his will.

Bukele, known for his crime repression policies and authoritarian approach, has been the subject of both internal and external criticism. Although he was credited with reducing gang violence in El Salvador, his re-election raised concerns about the continuation of his controversial policies.

During his first term, Bukele did not hesitate to use questionable tactics to impose his agenda. In 2020, he sent the armed forces to intimidate the Legislative Assembly into approving a loan for the security forces, a move that raised concerns about his use of authoritarian methods to achieve his goals.

Despite criticism and opposition, Bukele remains popular among a significant part of the Salvadoran population. In the 2024 elections, his party won a landslide victory, winning the vast majority of seats in the Legislative Assembly and further consolidating Bukele’s control over the government.

Bukele’s victory represents the consolidation of an authoritarian model of government in El Salvador, with a hegemonic party and an all-powerful leader in command. While Bukele defends his policies as key to solving the country’s long-standing problems, critics point to human rights violations, intimidation of the press and erosion of democracy under his rule.

As Bukele prepares to assume his second term, El Salvador’s political future remains uncertain. While some see his leadership as a solution to the country’s problems, others warn of the dangers of an increasingly authoritarian and repressive government. The international community, including the United States and the European Union, expressed concern about the situation in El Salvador and called for respect for human rights and democratic norms.

Source: vermelho.org.br

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