Main menu

A Guide to 2019 Latin American Elections: El Salvador



On February 3, voters elected Nayib Bukele to the presidency in the first round, breaking a a 30-year streak of two-party control of the presidency. The former San Salvador mayor received 53 percent of the vote as the candidate of the Grand Alliance for National Unity (GANA), a coalition that broke off from the conservative National Republican Alliance, though Bukele was a member of the governing Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front until 2017. 

The 37-year-old won by a landslide, beating his top opponent by more than 20 points and by winning over voters who saw him as a different option from politics as usual. But even if he got more votes than the two traditional parties combined, he will have to work with the opposition in the legislature, where GANA holds a small number of seats.

Presidents in El Salvador serve for five years and can run for nonconsecutive reelection. Bukele took office June 1.

>> Find out about other elections in our main 2019 Election Guide.

El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele runs a meeting with health officials. (Image: Office of the Presidency of El Salvador)

El Salvador's Nayib Bukele Marks 100 Days in Office

September 09, 2019

With 100 days as president under his belt, what has Latin America’s youngest president done to address corruption, security, and emigration?

Nayib Bukele (Image: The Salvadoran presidency.)

Nayib Bukele's First Steps as El Salvador's President

June 06, 2019

Since taking office on June 1, the young president has already made a set of notable decisions.

Nayib Bukele

LatAm in Focus: President-elect Nayib Bukele on His Plans for El Salvador

May 09, 2019

At COA's Washington Conference on the Americas, CNBC's Michelle Caruso-Cabrera talked with the 37-year-old leader about immigration, foreign policy, and job creation. 

Nayib Bukele takes office in El Salvador on June 1. (AP)

Bukele Breaks El Salvador's Two-Party Hold on Power

February 04, 2019

Learn about what the 37-year-old former mayor plans to do as president.

El Salvador: Meet the Candidates in Latin America's First Election of 2019

January 29, 2019

A closer look at the young frontrunner and the contenders hoping for an upset.

Chart header image

Poll Tracker: El Salvador's 2019 Presidential Election

January 24, 2019

Can Nayib Bukele win outright on February 3? That’s the big question—and the result is not a given.

Voters in Panama on Election Day. (AP)

2019 Latin American Elections: A Preview

January 09, 2019

AS/COA Online takes a look at upcoming presidential races in Argentina, Bolivia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, and Uruguay.

Will El Salvador's Nayib Bukele Be the Next Social Media President?

November 08, 2018

The frontrunner’s direct connection with supporters is upending party politics.

El Salvador voting center

LatAm in Focus: Back to the Future in Chile and El Salvador?

March 08, 2018

NYU’s Patricio Navia talks about Sebastián Piñera’s return to Chile’s presidency, and AU’s Héctor Silva Ávalos tells us why the FMLN’s electoral loss is ARENA’s gain in El Salvador.