Bukele has free rein to reform the Constitution in the next 5 years. Nayib Bukele Begins His Second Mandate in El Salvador.

With more power than ever, a weakened opposition and a high popularity rating, Nayib Bukele will begin his second term as president of El Salvador on Saturday, after carrying out a relentless “war” against gangs.

Despite his achievements in security, his main challenge now is to improve the economy, since poverty affects almost a third of the population.

Re-elected with broad popular support

Bukele, a 42-year-old millennial publicist, was re-elected in the February 4 elections with an overwhelming 85% of the votes.

He will govern for another five years with almost total control of Congress and other state institutions.

The swearing-in ceremony is scheduled for 08:00 local time at the National Palace, in the historic center of San Salvador, where a large concentration of Salvadorans is expected.

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Nayib Bukele Begins His Second Mandate in El Salvador

Featured guests at the inauguration

Among the dignitaries who will attend Bukele’s inauguration are Argentine President Javier Milei, Paraguayan President Santiago Peña and King Felipe of Spain.

Bukele, who defines himself as a “cool dictator,” has been criticized for his authoritarian style and for maintaining power thanks to like-minded magistrates who allowed his re-election, despite the constitutional prohibition.

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Nayib Bukele Begins His Second Mandate in El Salvador

Achievements in security and criticism for human rights

Considered the most popular president in Latin America according to Latinobarómetro, Bukele took power in 2019 with a promise to defeat gangs, responsible for approximately 120,000 deaths in three decades.

Under his rule, El Salvador has been described as the safest country in the Western Hemisphere, although this security has been achieved through an emergency regime established in March 2022, which has resulted in the arrest of more than 80,000 suspected gang members without court orders.

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Nayib Bukele Begins His Second Mandate in El Salvador

Organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have reported deaths, torture and detentions of thousands of innocent people among the 8,000 people who had to be released.

Despite these criticisms, Judge Juan Antonio Durán, a critic of the government, points out that the country is in “uncertainty” due to the lack of a clear program presented by Bukele during his electoral campaign.

Nayib Bukele Begins His Second Mandate in El Salvador

Clear path for reforms

With a Congress where his party, Nuevas Ideas, has 54 of the 60 seats, Bukele has free rein to reform the Constitution, after deputies approved in April a mechanism to accelerate possible changes.

The analyst and former guerrilla commander, Eugenio Chicas, warns that Bukele could go towards a “dictatorial scheme” and an indefinite re-election.

Bukele has built his image through social networks, where he usually writes in English and calls himself “Philosopher King.”

According to Óscar Picardo, director of Research at the Francisco Gavidia University, “a cult phenomenon has established itself in the country” thanks to Bukele’s media machinery.

R. Nayib Bukele Begins His Second Mandate in El Salvador

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