El Salvador’s president asks for leave of absence to seek reelection

BARRIO (Reuters) – Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele announced on Tuesday he will formally ask Congress to approve a leave of absence over the next few days to allow him to run for reelection as president of the Central American nation next year.

The country’s electoral tribunal approved Bukele’s candidacy earlier this month.

In a televised speech, Bukele said he is formally requesting the leave of absence “to dedicate myself to the campaign,” but he did not name his temporary replacement in his brief remarks.

While critics question Bukele’s ability to seek a second consecutive term, citing a constitutional prohibition, the country’s top court ruled he could run in 2021.

The judges on that court were appointed by Congress, which is dominated by Bukele’s New Ideas party.

Bukele could comfortably win the 2024 elections, according to a recent poll, in large part due to his popularity stemming from a year-long anti-gang policy that has dramatically reduced violent crime while also curtailing constitutional rights.

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