The orange and blue
Nayib Bukele will apparently be the presidential nominee of the GANA party in El Salvador. Bukele won the internal GANA elections on Sunday after his opponent, Will Salgado, dropped out of the race.
Bukele posted on social media that he was hospitalized Sunday morning, but was doing well. He did not make public appearances during the day, and little information has been shared.
At this point, the attempts by El Salvador's leading political parties, ARENA and the FMLN, appear to have failed to keep Bukele off of the 2019 ballot. I expect the opponents of Bukele will turn next to pushing pending criminal investigations. Those investigations include: (1) a public integrity investigation against him which found more than $800,000 in income which he did not declare during his earlier stint as mayor of Nuevo Cuscatlan; (2) a judicial case against Bukele for defamation by Eugenio Chicas, the president's communications secretary, whom Bukele accused of having sex with a minor and then marrying her to cover up what he had done (both Chicas and his partner deny Bukele's claim); and (3) prosecution for verbal harrassment of a female member of San Salvador city government.
Bukele might also face an investigation related to a report published by El Faro detailing how Bukele's organization has negotiated with the country's major gangs. These negotiations with the gangs began during Bukele's 2015 campaign for mayor of San Salvador as his campaign procured safe passage for the candidate through barrios controlled by the gangs. El Faro also reported that $20-$30,000 was paid to the gangs in cash just before election day to make sure they did not interfere with Bukele's voters.
These investigations could play into the politics of the choice of a new attorney general in El Salvador which happens soon. The current attorney general, Douglas Melendez, has openly feuded with Bukele in the past and backs the current investigations. Everyone in the legislature other than the GANA deputies may want to retain Melendez or make sure that any successor will push these cases.
The last minute switch of Bukele to GANA, has tarnished his image in the views of certain segments of the Salvadoran population. Frankly no one believes that Bukele has any real affection for GANA as a political institution. This is a last minute marriage of convenience for both parties. Some were openly questioning on social media whether Bukele has principles or only ambitions.
It's been an eventful several days for politics in El Salvador. There will be many more twists and turns before the presidential election on February 3.