Presidents of El Salvador. 1984 to the present.

Presidents of El SalvadorNayib Bukele's 2019 Presidential Inaguration.

The Presidents of El Salvador stay in office for a five-year term; they are elected by popular vote. To become president, a candidate must win 50% plus one of the total votes cast in the election.

If no candidate gets to the required number of votes, it goes to a second voting round, where the two candidates who have obtained the most electoral votes in the first round will compete for the presidency.

Presidents of El Salvador from 1984 to 2024.

# Name Term Political
46 Nayib Bukele 2019 to present GANA
45 Salvador Sanchez Ceren 2014 to 2019 FMLN
44 Mauricio Funes 2009 to 1014 FMLN
43 Antonio Saca 2004 to 2009 ARENA
42 Francisco Flores 1999 to 2004 ARENA
41 Armando Calderon Sol 1994 to 1999 ARENA
40 Alfredo Cristiani 1989 to 1994 ARENA
39 Jose Napoleon Duarte 1984 to 1989 PDC

#46 Nayib Bukele

2019 to present “GANA”

On June 1st, 2019, Nayib Bukele was sworn is as the 46th president of the Republic of El Salvador. Nayib Bukele was 37-year-old when he becomes president of El Salvador; he is the youngest person to served as president of El Salvador.

Bukele put an end to the two-party system (FMLN and ARENA) that ruled the country for 30 years. He was elected by winning 53.1% of total votes. Bukele got more votes than the other two political parties combined.

Although he is the Nuevas Ideas political party founder, Bukele won the presidency with GANA, a right-wing political party. Nuevas Ideas was not legalized on time to allow Bukele to run under its political party.

Before becoming president of El Salvador, Bukele served as mayor of the capital city, San Salvador, from 2015 to 2018. Before that, he was mayor of the small municipality of Nuevo Cuscatlan.

President Nayib Bukele
Nayib Armando Bukele.

#45 Salvador Sanchez Ceren

2014 to 2019 “FMLN”

Salvador Sanchez Ceren is a politician that served as the 45th president of El Salvador from 2014 to 2019. Sanchez Ceren is the second president of the left-wing political party Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN).

Sanchez Ceren was a former guerilla fighter who, from 2009 to 2014, served as vice-president of El Salvador. Also, this guerrilla leader is the first ex-fighter to serve as president of the country.

During the civil war of the 1980s, Ceren was a guerilla commander known as Commander Leonel Gonzalez. Sanchez Ceren served two terms as a deputy at the Legislative Assembly, 2000 to 2003, and 2003 to 2006.

In 2006, after the death of the Communist Party leader and FMLN Commander Schafik Handal, Sanchez Ceren succeeded Handal as head of the legislative portion of the left-wing political party.

In April 2007, the FMLN chose Ceren to be the running mate of Mauricio Funes for the 2009 presidential election. In this presidential elections, they defeated the ARENA candidates.

Salvador Sanchez Ceren
Salvador Sanchez Ceren.

#44 Mauricio Funes

2009 to 1014 “FMLN”

Mauricio Funes Cartagena served as president of the Republic of El Salvador from 2009 to 2014. Funes Cartagena was the first elected president for the left-wing political party Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front or FMLN.

Ex-president Funes Cartagena became a Nicaraguan citizen in 2019, after residing in Nicaragua under political Asylum protection for over a year. He is currently living in exile, avoiding the Salvadoran Justice System. The ex-president is charged with misappropriating millions of dollars of Salvadoran public funds.

The Funes Presidency is well-known for the charges of corruption that he and a few of his cabinet members face. Also, for the infamous truce, his administration had with the gangs, Barrio 18 and MS-13.

Mauricio Funes Cartagena
Mauricio Funes Cartagena.

Before becoming president of El Salvador, Mauricio Funes was a journalist who hosted a popular interview show. During the Salvadoran civil war, Funes Cartagena was a reporter that interviewed many of the guerilla leaders.

#43 Antonio Saca

2004 to 2009 “ARENA”

Elias Antonio Saca or Tony Saca was the 43rd president of El Salvador. It served as president of El Salvador from 2004 to 2009.

Tony Saca is currently serving a ten-year prison sentence for corruption. On September 12, 2018, Saca pleaded guilty to embezzlement and money laundering charges that involved public funds in the amount of $300 million.

In the 2004 presidential elections, Saca defeated FMLN’s Schafik Handal, one of the left-wing political party’s founders. Tony Saca became the 4th president to served in a row from the right-wing political party ARENA.

In 2009, the ARENA spelled Tony Saca from the political party. Tony Saca moved to the new political party Grand Alliance for National Unity or GANA.

Tony Saca
Elias Antonio Saca.

Tony Saca’s only job in public office was being president of El Salvador. Previous to becoming President, Tony Saca was a broadcast journalist; his specializing was in sports radio.

#42 Francisco Flores

1999 to 2004 “ARENA”

Francisco Guillermo Flores Perez or Paco Flores was a politician who served as the 42nd president of El Salvador from 1999 to 2004. He was a member of the right-wing political party ARENA.

Ex-president Flores is known for the country’s dollarization; something that, when it was done, brought chaos into the country. The vast majority of Salvadorans, especially the poor, were not prepared for this change.

Flores is also the first Salvadoran ex-president to be indicted on corruption charges. He was charged with stealing $15 million that was donated in 2003 by the Government of Taiwan.

The money was intended to help survivors of the 2001 El Salvador earthquakes; however, the money ended up in ARENA’s hands.

On September 6, 2014, after months in hiding, Flores turned itself to the authorities. Subsequently, he was placed under house arrest until his trial. In January 2016, while in house arrest and awaiting trial, Flores suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died on January 30, 2016.

In 2020, the deputy for the ARENA party, Norman Quijano, said that the Government of Taiwan gave El Salvador money in exchange for a vote in the United Nations. He assured that Taiwan’s funds were to develop the parties in the Government and not to help the victims of the earthquake.

Before becoming president, Paco Flores served as a deputy of the Salvadoran Legislative Assembly from 1994 to 1999; he was president of the Legislative Assembly from 1997 to 1999.

Paco Flores
Paco Flores

#41 Armando Calderon Sol

1994 to 1999 “ARENA”

Armando Calderon Sol was the 41st President of El Salvador; he served from 1994 to 1999. Calderon Sol was the first president elected after the end of the Salvadoran civil war.

President Sol was a supporter of state-owned companies’ privatization, such as telephone, banking, electric, and pension funds. He did end up privatizing all of those companies. Calderon Sol removed trade barriers across all sectors to make El Salvador more competitive worldwide after 12 years of civil war.

Before becoming president, Calderon Sol served as mayor of San Salvador from 1988 to 1994.

#40 Alfredo Cristiani

1989 to 1994 “ARENA”

Alfredo Cristiani Burkard served as president of El Salvador from 1989 to 1994. Cristiani was the first president of the right-wing political party ARENA. Cristiani began involved in politics when the Nationalist Republican Alliance ARENA was created in the early 1980s.

Cristiani became the leader of the political party in 1988. In the legislative elections held the same year, ARENA won 31 of the 60 seats of the Legislative Assembly. This was the beginning of ARENA’s rule as the most influential political party in the country. This political reign will last until 2009.

1n 1989, Cristiani became the president-elect by obtaining 53.8% of total votes; it marked the beginning of 20 years of ARENA controlling the Salvadoran executive branch.

Cristiani was the president who successfully put an end to the civil war by negotiating a peace accord with the FMLN guerillas in 1992.

In 2008, human rights organizations filed a lawsuit in Spain’s court charging Cristiani and fourteen members of the Salvadoran military with responsibility for the 1989 murders of Jesuit priests at the UCA university. As of 2020, the case is still ongoing.

#39 Jose Napoleon Duarte

1984 to 1989 “PDC”

Jose Napoleón Duarte was a politician who served as president of El Salvador from 1984 to 1989. In the 1984 presidential elections, he defeated ARENA’s founder and party leader Roberto D’Aubuisson.

Duarte ran for president in the 1972 elections and lost to Colonel Arturo Armando Molina Barraza. In 1979, a military coup took over El Salvador. After the coup, a civil-military Junta was created. The Junta was led by Duarte and governed the country until 1982 when elections were held.

Duarte was president during the worst years of the civil war. From 1984 to 1989, El Salvador saw many cases of abuse and massacres of the civilian population by the Salvadoran military forces and the infamous death squads.

Presidents of El Salvador

The presidents of El Salvador serve a one time five year-term. Presidents are ineligible for immediate reelection; however, they may run again after sitting out one election term.