Polls suggest anti-corruption candidate favored to win in El Salvador

Latin America

Polls suggest anti-corruption candidate favored to win in El Salvador

El Salvador votes for its president on Sunday. It’s the smallest country in Central America, and known for its high murder rate and mass emigration.  The presidential front-runner has promised to fight what he labels the root cause of these social problems: corruption.

CGTN’s Franc Contreras reports from San Salvador.

Thirty-seven-year-old Nayib Bukele is a former mayor of the capital, San Salvador. He broke from the leftist FMLN party and recently joined a right-wing party called GANA, meaning “win”.

“Our people are a brave people. They have already decided, already decided to break paradigms, decided that never again, their (government’s) time has come to an end, stealing public money has come to an end,” Bukele said.

His main campaign promise is to fight corruption, going along with the slogan “There’s enough money when no one steals.”

El Salvador has been plagued by one of the world’s highest murder rates. for decades Much of that violence is committed by gangs and corrupt police. A perpetually weak economy worsens the problem.

Development experts have said El Salvador’s economy produces few, mostly low-paying, jobs. That contributes to widespread social inequality. The major consequence is mass emigration, with tens of thousands of Salvadorans fleeing their country each year.

“The people are completely fed up with the two-party system here in El Salvador. They hope Bukele will change things,” political analyst Alvaro Artiga.

Polls indicate the second-place challenger for the presidency is candidate Carlos Calleja, of the right-leaning ARENA party. It’s one of two major parties that have traditionally held power in El Salvador.

“This small country can build a great nation. We have a small territory but we have the best people in the world. I will not disappoint you. I am candidate that likes to work,” Carlos Calleja, an Arena Party Presidential Candidate said.

Many Salvadorans desperately want to build a nation that takes care of all its citizens. With that dream in mind, they’ll be casting their ballots in Sunday’s presidential election.