00:30 GMT09 August 2020
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    MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) - El Salvadoran presidential hopeful Nayib Bukele, a former mayor of the country's capital of San Salvador and a member of the conservative party Grand Alliance for National Unity, declared himself on Monday the winner of the presidential election.

    "Yes, we can already say for sure that we have won the presidential election in the first round. Thank you to everyone who has come to vote", Bukele said, cited by El Salvadoran daily newspaper Prensa Grafica.

    Bukele called on his supporters to gather in the historic center of San Salvador to celebrate victory.

    On Sunday, a total of 1,600 polling stations were open for voters across the country. Over 5.2 millions citizens have registered to vote.

    READ MORE: Beijing Calls on US to 'Cease Hegemony' Toward El Salvador's Ties With China

    According to the country's Supreme Electoral Tribunal, anti-corruption campaigner Bukele has secured 53.79 percent of the vote, with 44.31 percent of the ballots counted.

    Carlos Calleja from the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance follows with 31.62 percent, while Hugo Martinez from the ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front secured 13.77 percent of the vote. Only 0.81 percent of the voters supported Josue Alvarado from the centrist Vamos party.

    In El Salvador, a candidate must secure over 50 percent of the vote to win in the first round of a presidential election.

    Bukele, 37, an active social media user, has pledged to promote strong ties with Washington and also examine all deals between the current government and China.

    READ MORE: Activist: DHS Order on El Salvador Will ‘Break Up Families’

    Last year, incumbent president Salvador Sanchez Ceren switched El Salvador's diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to Beijing, a move that prompted the US Department of State to recall its ambassador.

    Bukele has studied law at Jose Simeon Canas Central American University but reportedly left before getting a degree.


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