Manual counting of ballots begins after election irregularities in El Salvador

The electoral authority of El Salvador commenced manual ballot counting for the presidential and legislative assembly elections after disclosing system malfunctions in vote transmission.

Despite the certainty of President Nayib Bukele’s triumph, supported by 83% of the majority vote tallied, attention is currently directed towards the nation’s 60 congressional seats.

A supermajority in Congress would grant Bukele unrivalled authority, including the ability to amend the nation’s constitution and further suspend constitutional rights in his laudable campaign against criminal gangs, an approach that has elicited censure from rights organizations.

Upon announcing his victory on Sunday, he asserted that his New Ideas party had secured 58 out of 60 seats in Congress, even though only 5% of the ballots were tallied for those seats. The governing electoral body has not yet declared a victor for either election.

Bukele’s proclamations have come under scrutiny after a comprehensive breakdown characterized by multiple reports of anomalies, malfunctions, and interruptions in power and the internet.

“A few minor setbacks impeded the execution of the count as scheduled,” stated Dora Esmeralda Martinez, the chief of the electoral authority, on national television on Monday.

The process of tallying the remaining presidential votes commenced at the Hilton hotel in the capital on Wednesday. The congressional tally will begin in a soccer stadium on Thursday.

Bukele utilized the congressional majority of his New Ideas party during his first term to reorganize state institutions and populate courts with loyalists, thereby establishing the foundation for his re-election, notwithstanding the constitutional prohibition on such endeavours.

There is no doubt that Bukele will compete for a third season.

Critics and opponents alike assert that electoral reforms implemented by Congress before the election tilted the scales in favour of his party by reducing the number of seats from 84 to 60.

Bukele urged Salvadorans to vote in Congress during his campaign, threatening that if New Ideas lost seats, the opposition would “liberate gang members and use them to return to power.”

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