El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele
Nayib Bukele said El Salvador’s Bitcoin Investments are "in the black". -

El Salvador President Nayib Bukele holds a strong lead ahead of his bid next month to win re-election, a poll showed on Tuesday.

According to the survey by Francisco Gavidia University, Bukele has a 71% lead over opposition leaders Joel Sánchez from the Arena party and Manuel Flores from the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) party, Reuters reported.

El Salvador's general elections are slated for Feb. 4 which will elect the president, vice president, and all 60 deputies of the legislative assembly. Later, on March 3, another election will be held for the election of all 44 mayors and municipal councils.

The 42-year-old president has been serving the office since June 2019, but he temporarily stepped down as the president in November last year to run again for the second term. This was necessary because the Constitution does not allow a president to serve two consecutive terms. However, Supreme Court judges allowed Bukele to run for re-election, noting that his human right to run for office outweighed the Constitution's ban.

Lawmakers from the ruling party Nuevas Ideas were responsible for appointing the judges who made the decision, allowing Bukele to run for re-election. According to the poll, Nuevas Ideas could secure 57 seats out of 60 as it has a strong hold on the legislature.

In March 2022, Bukele invoked emergency powers as part of an unprecedented anti-gang push that saw police arrest more than 75,000 suspected gang members. The country also experienced a staggering 495 murders in 2022, but the numbers significantly dropped in 2023, reaching a low of only 154 murders.

Earlier this month, El Salvador's Minister of Justice and Security Gustavo Villatoro said that the number of homicides in the country declined by nearly 70% in 2023, crediting Bukele's administration for declaring a state of emergency to fight criminal groups.

While murders have reduced in El Salvador, there are human rights groups in the country that called out the crackdown as it includes torture, deaths in custody, and arbitrary detentions.

According to Human rights groups, there have been 190 deaths and more than 5,000 cases of abuse by the officials in prison. El Salvador's parliament approved the state of emergency in March 2022 after police reported 62 murders in a single day on March 20, which made it the most violent day in the last 30 years.

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