In the nearly thirty years since the signing of the Chapultepec Peace Accords that concluded the Salvadoran Civil, the political arena of the Central American nation of El Salvador has been dominated by two parties: the rightist National Republican Alliance (Alianza Republicana Nacionalista) and the leftist Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional). Numerous former legislators and presidents from both parties have been accused of corruption and gross malfeasance that’s led to the violence and insecurity that shapes daily Salvadoran life and has stalled the arrival of peace and prosperity.
But this year might be different. For the first time since 1992, an outsider politician and party is leading in the polls.
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — Campaigning wrapped up Sunday for next weekend’s presidential election in El Salvador, with polls saying the front-runner is a young ex-mayor who is promising to fight corruption and end three decades of two-party rule.
A victory next Sunday by former San Salvador Mayor Nayib Bukele would bring a fresh face to a Central American country plagued by poverty, gang violence and one of the world’s highest homicide rates. Nearly one in three Salvadorans lives in poverty, according to the World Bank.
Results from 10 different polling firms say the 37-year-old Bukele leads Carlos Calleja of the conservative New Country coalition and Hugo Martinez of the party formed by El Salvador’s former FMLN guerrillas.
“We’re tired of these lying politicians, of so much corruption, that’s why I support Nayib,” Catalino Ramirez, 60, said while waiting in a large crowd to hear Bukele give a speech in the capital.
Bukele, a businessman who distributes Yamaha motorcycles and owns nightclubs, represents the Grand National Alliance for Unity.
If no candidate wins a majority of votes, a runoff between the top two candidates would take place March 10.
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