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Newly Elected World Leaders This Month, 2024 February

Updated: Mar 28


Four countries held elections in February. El Salvador on the 5th, Azerbaijan on the 7th, Indonesia on the 14th, and Senegal on the 25th. Here is a brief glimpse into who these newly elected officials are.


El Salvador

Nayib Bukele, one of the youngest El Salvadorian presidents to date, won re-election by a supermajority, claiming nearly 85% of the vote, according to the Associated Press (A.P.). Although the president has implemented controversial policies during his time as president, many find his work in restructuring El Salvador a blessing.


“We have seen the results of the strategies applied for decades, and they have not worked. If we are truly concerned about the people, we have to change the way we do things,” Bukele said in one of his speeches to a citizenry fed up with violence.

The statement showcases his tactics in targeting gangs like Mara Salvatrucha (MS 13), which ran El Salvador for many years—imprisoning nearly 66,000 individuals linked to gang-related activities within his first term as president. As a result of the imprisonment, murders decreased by half the national average.


El Salvador, formerly known as the “murder capital of the world,” since 2015, murders and gang violence have decreased sharply due to a higher and more empowered police presence, with many attributing the safety and national success to Bukele’s solid policies and no tolerance stance on gang violence.

“We went in three years from being the most dangerous country in the world to being one of the safest in the region,” an interviewee said to Bloomberg.


Azerbaijan

President Ilham Aliyev won his fifth consecutive term as president on the 7th. He became president in 2003 after serving two months as the country’s prime minister. Aliyev is the fourth president in the nation’s history, with his father, Heydar Aliyev, serving as Azerbaijan’s third president from 1993 to 2003. Current Azerbaijani president, Ilham Aliyev, became president shortly after his father left office in 2003.


Aliyev’s family owns significant portions of Azerbaijan banking, and President Ilham was named Corruption’s Person of the year, according to the Organized Crime and Reporting project. Human Rights Watch issued a report in 2013 stating that human rights and political activists were imprisoned, harassed, tortured, and sometimes executed.

The Press Freedom Index stated that the country showed signs of “unlawful or arbitrary killing, heavy restrictions on free expression, the press, and the internet.”

“The Azerbaijani people have elected Ilham Aliyev as the country’s president,” Central Election Commission chief Mazahir Panahov said during a press conference on February 7.

Aliyev won 92% of the nation’s vote with a 67% national turnout. Aliyev’s political opponents were Jamil Hasanli and Igbal Agazade. Hasanli served as a professor at Baku State University from 1993 to 2011 and is acclaimed as an author and politician. Hasanli has a long educational career and was president of the National Council of Democratic Forces of Azerbaijan.

Agazade served in Azerbaijan’s parliament and the Soviet Army for two years. Beyond his role in parliament, he does not have much of a political record, with his policies not mentioned on his social media. Although Azerbaijan offered other political candidates, Aliyev remained in power for over 20 years, virtually unopposed.


Indonesia

Prabowo Subianto declared presidential victory in Indonesia, citing unofficial tallies that showed him winning with more than 55% of the vote, according to Al Jazeera. Subianto began his political career in 2004 when he established the Gerindra Party, a right-wing nationalist party that established policies that took a firm stance on national identity and centralized government.

Subianto established the party to “achieve his lifelong presidential ambitions,” according to the Jakarta Post. Subianto married Titiek Soeharto in 1983. Subianto’s wife, Titiek, is the daughter of former Indonesian president Suharto. The former Indonesian president Suharto remained in power for 32 years before leaving office in 1998.

Indonesia was cited as a borderline family dynasty by the New York Times after former president Joko Widodo was challenged for the presidency by now-current Indonesian President Subianto. Subianto lost two presidential elections to Widodo in prior elections.


Now-current President Subianto, whom the U.S. once banned for human rights violations, is now hailed by President Biden as a “new era” of international relations with Indonesia, according to PBS, the New York Times, et. Al.


Subiano climbed military ranks and served in the Indonesian congress since 2014 before achieving his political presidential aspirations. Time will tell if the nation sways far from an open democracy.