El Salvador outsider Nayib Bukele opens wide lead in presidential poll

Nayib Bukele Candidato presidencial por la Alianza GANA, CD, Nuevas Ideas 
El Salvador outsider opens wide lead in presidential poll

SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) - Nayib Bukele, former mayor of El Salvador’s capital, is the frontrunner expected to win the presidential election in February in the impoverished and crime-ridden Central American country, according to a poll released on Wednesday.

It marks the first time in three decades that a candidate from an outsider party has a real shot of winning the five-year term as president when Salvadorans vote on Feb. 3.

The incumbent leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) has been in power since 2009, after the main right-wing party, the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA), ruled for two decades.

Bukele, a 37-year-old businessman of the right-wing Great Alliance for National Unity party (GANA) has a 25-point lead over his nearest rival with 45 percent of voter intentions, according to the CID/Gallup poll.

Businessman Carlos Calleja of ARENA has 20 percent support in the poll. The candidate for the FMLN, former Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez, has 7 percent.

The CID/ Gallup was taken between Sept. 14 and 22.

To win the presidency in El Salvador a candidate must get over 50 percent of votes, so as things stand, the election would likely be decided in a runoff, they added.

The former San Salvador mayor was kicked out of FMLN in October 2017, accused of dividing the party and throwing an apple at and insulting a female member of the party. He joined GANA after time had run out to register his own political party.

Bukele denies the incident occurred.

Rampant gang violence, a sluggish economy and high profile corruption cases will likely be key voter issues.
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