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El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele

GZERO Media

Strongman with a strong mandate? El Salvador’s Nayib Bukele

Since riding an anti-establishment wave to power in 2019, El Salvador’s young, social-media savvy, mano dura (“firm hand”) President Nayib Bukele has tested the limits of his country’s fragile institutions.

He’s sent armed men into congress to pressure lawmakers, harried the opposition with arrests, packed the courts with loyalists, and raised human rights concerns with his jail-first-ask-questions-later approach towards gang violence.

But he’s also done something remarkable: he’s become one of the most popular democratically elected leaders in the world. After three years in office, his approval rating hovers around 90%.

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