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Weekly Report - 04 March 2021 (WR-21-09)

Bukele obliterates opposition and reigns supreme in El Salvador

By any yardstick, the result of El Salvador’s legislative elections on 28 February was a remarkable achievement for President Nayib Bukele. Nuevas Ideas (NI), a self-proclaimed non-ideological political movement crafted in his own image, became the first party in the country’s democratic history to win a two-thirds majority in the 84-seat legislative assembly - in its maiden elections. In so doing it shattered the political duopoly of the two rival parties that have dominated domestic politics since the 1992 peace accords. From 1 May, when new deputies take their seats, Bukele will, at a stroke, become the most powerful head of state since the civil war, presenting him with a unique opportunity to advance his political agenda and enact transformative changes to benefit the voters who have placed their faith in him. But Bukele’s plans are as ill-defined as his populist authoritarian traits are clear, raising concern about the concentration of power in his hands.

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