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President of El Salvador to begin second term in test for economy

El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele is expected to be sworn in for a second term this Saturday as his approval rating for a ferocious crackdown on crime faces new challenges to rejuvenate a stagnant economy and combat poverty in the central country. American.

The 42-year-old former nightclub manager, re-elected in a landslide victory with more than 80% of the vote in February, will be inaugurated for another five years following a court ruling that paved the way for his re-election even though the country's constitution prohibits it. .

Saturday's inauguration ceremony in the capital San Salvador comes amid security concerns after police said they had thwarted a bomb threat.

Seven people were arrested for conspiring to detonate explosives at locations across the country, police said on Thursday (30), adding that the suspects are part of the so-called El Salvador Insurrection Brigade.

Among the participants expected at the ceremony are the libertarian president of Argentina, Javier Milei, and Donald Trump Jr., son of former US president Donald Trump, who arrived in El Salvador on Friday (31). His father earlier this week became the first former US president to be convicted of a crime.

Bukele won re-election in February after gaining huge popularity in his first term for transforming security in the country of 6.3 million people that was once one of the most dangerous in the world.

Authorities under his watch suspended civil liberties to arrest more than 80,000 Salvadorans without charge, which drew criticism from human rights groups but earned him a dedicated following in the country and across the region for bringing safety to the streets.

With safer neighborhoods, public concern has now turned to the economy, which will likely be Bukele's biggest challenge in his second term. More than a quarter of Salvadorans live in poverty and unemployment is rising.

The president's highly publicized plans for Bitcoin City, a tax-free crypto haven powered by geothermal energy from a volcano, have failed to gain traction and private investment has fallen. El Salvador's public debt, meanwhile, has soared on Bukele's watch to more than $30 billion, or 84% of GDP.

Economists said the government faced a difficult balancing act in reducing the national debt without cutting much-needed social benefits for the country's poorest. “They could end up creating a critical situation for women and families in rural areas,” said San Salvador-based economist Julia Evelyn Martínez.

Source: CNN Brasil

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