Salvadorans Voice Hope For Change After Outsider Sweeps To Presidency | 2/3/2019 | Staff
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SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) – Salvadorans voiced hope for a changed country on Monday after political outsider Nayib Bukele won a sweeping victory in the presidential election with a pledge to tackle the corruption and violence plaguing the Central American nation.

Bukele, 37, a former mayor of the capital, San Salvador, won 53 percent of the vote with returns counted from 99.9 percent of polling stations, the national electoral tribunal said on Monday, allowing him to clinch the presidency in the first round of voting.

Victory - Sunday - Election - Rebuke - Parties

His emphatic victory in Sunday’s election was a stunning rebuke to the two political parties that had dominated El Salvador since its civil war, the ruling leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) and its long-standing rival, the conservative Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA).

Bukele’s promises to modernize government and his dynamic use of social media have energized young Salvadorans, eager for an end to the economic stagnation, poverty and violence that have beset the nation of 6.5 million people following its vicious 1980-1992 civil war.

Streets - San - Salvador - Juana - De

On the bustling streets of San Salvador, Juana de Calderon, a 38-year-old cook in a small restaurant, said she cast a vote for Bukele hoping to put a stop to corruption.

“We hope that he fulfills what he promised in the campaign,” she said while preparing empanadas, a savory pastry popular in Latin America. “If we voted for him, it’s because we want something new – to have a different country.”

Bukele - Rivals - FMLN - ARENA - Defeat

Bukele’s two rivals from the FMLN and ARENA quickly accepted defeat on Sunday evening.

Bukele must now contend with U.S. President Donald Trump’s frequent threats to cut aid to El Salvador – as well as to neighboring Guatemala and Honduras – if they do not do more to curb migration...
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