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Nayib Bukele, El Salvador’s Bitcoin-friendly president, has won re-election, securing a landslide victory amidst unconfirmed claims he has secured 85% of the votes.
Besides adopting Bitcoin as legal tender, Bukele has also been credited with a major crackdown on gangs in the Central American nation.
Another Five Years For Bukele
Exit polls show President Nayib Bukele is well on his way to securing a second term in office after securing an overwhelming lead after voting ended on Sunday. The result does not come as a surprise, as Bukele had gained tremendous popularity and had led in pre-election polling by a large margin as well. Following the exit polls, Bukele took to X, tweeting that his party had won the presidential election, securing 85% of the votes.
“According to our numbers, we have won the presidential election with more than 85% of the votes and a minimum of 58 of 60 deputies in the Assembly—the record in the entire democratic history of the world. See you at 9 pm in front of the National Palace. God bless El Salvador.”
Bukele’s popularity soared thanks to an intense crackdown on crime and gang violence in El Salvador. This led to the country going from being one of the most violent countries in the world to one of the safest in the Latin American region. Bukele was a former mayor of El Salvador’s capital, San Salvador, and has often described himself as “the world’s coolest dictator.”
Under Bukele’s presidency, El Salvador became the first nation to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender. The country also introduced a dedicated crypto wallet to help people purchase Bitcoin as an investment and help speed its adoption. The move by Bukele was widely appreciated by those in the crypto space and Bitcoin enthusiasts. However, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was less than impressed and was hugely critical of Bukele.
In 2024, El Salvador plans to issue the long-awaited Bitcoin-backed Volcano bonds, which received regulatory approval in December. The bonds would help fund a Bitcoin mining industry that would be powered by renewable energy.
A Controversial Figure
Despite his burgeoning popularity, Bukele remains a hugely controversial figure, with human rights groups stating he has arbitrarily arrested thousands of individuals during his crackdown on gangs. Around 75,000 people have been arrested by the authorities in El Salvador under emergency measures that have repeatedly been extended. Amnesty International condemned the actions in a report published in December, stating that gang violence had gradually been replaced by state violence.
Bukele’s re-election bid has also been criticized because he is banned from standing for re-election for a consecutive term under current laws. However, a constitutional court, which his supporters dominate, allowed him to run for the presidency for a second term.
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