Latin America’s 2019 election calendar kicks off in El Salvador. The Central American country votes for president and vice president on February 3. Outgoing President Salvador Sánchez Cerén’s approval rating sits at around 26 percent, and his Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) party lost ground in last year’s legislative and municipal elections.
The man to beat right now is Nayib Bukele, formerly of the FMLN and ex-mayor of San Salvador, who is heading the new Grand Alliance for National Unity (GANA) coalition. Bukele has maintained a solid lead in most polls—some that indicate he could win the election outright on February 3—though there are signs his support is slipping in the closing weeks. His main challenger is Carlos Calleja who heads a right-wing coalition, called New Country (Nuevo País), that includes his ARENA party.
If no candidate wins a majority, a runoff between the top two candidates will take place on March 10. Presidents serve five-year terms in El Salvador, and are allowed to run for reelection as long as the terms are not consecutive.