Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 25 January 2020

El Salvador's president of Palestinian roots praised by PLO official

Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi described Nayib Bukele as a visionary leader

Nayib Bukele, President of El Salvador, at the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly  in New York in September. Reuters
Nayib Bukele, President of El Salvador, at the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly  in New York in September. Reuters

Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi on Monday praised the president of El Salvador, calling the Central American leader of Palestinian descent a visionary leader.

Ms Ashrawi said that Nayib Bukele was “a young, visionary leader whose drive (as well as his Palestinian roots) make us proud!,” and shared an image of the pair together.

Mr Bukele, 37, took office earlier this year as the first president, not from one of the country’s two main parties.

He has said that tackling gang violence and corruption are major aims of his five-year term.

But Mr Bukele is perhaps best known for his social media usage. It was his main tool as the underdog candidate and helped propel his rise to the presidency.

But it is also a tool he continues to wield in office, announcing major policy decisions in 280-characters or less.

The 37-year-old former mayor of San Salvador has even given officials the axe with a tweet.

Some of the dismissed have responded to the millennial head of state in kind. Michelle Sol, the now-former housing minister, replied: “Right away, President @nayibbukele.”

His selfie with Ms Ashrawi is also far from his first. At the United Nations General Assembly in September, he asked the audience to wait while he snapped a photo on his phone. “Believe me, many more people will see this selfie than will hear this speech," Mr Bukele quipped before delivering his address calling on the international body to change with the times and for world leaders to do more to connect with their countries' youth.

Mr Bukele’s grandparents were Christian Palestinians from Jerusalem and Bethlehem while his father, who was born in El Salvador, converted to Islam and became an imam.

Updated: December 16, 2019 03:38 PM

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