Salvadorean presidential candidate Nayib Bukele, of the Great National Alliance (GANA), speaks during the closing rally of his campaign in San Salvador, on January 26, 2019 ahead of the first round of the national election on February 3. Image Credit: AFP

San Salvador: Nayib Bukele, the popular former mayor of San Salvador, claimed victory Sunday in the Central American country's presidential elections.

"At this moment we can announce with total certainty that we have won the presidency," the 37-year-old Bukele told supporters.

A few minutes before his declaration, the country's Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) awarded him 52.93 per cent of the vote with almost 70 per cent of ballots counted.

Bukele's primary opponents - Carlos Calleja of the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA), and Hugo Martinez of the leftist Farabundo Marti Front for National Liberation (FMLN) - recognised the win.

The result upends the nearly 30-year grip that their parties - the country's largest - have had on Salvadoran politics.

"We recognise the results of these elections. We are going to call the president-elect to wish him luck in facing the challenges in this country," said Calleja, the runner-up with 32.08 per cent of the vote.

Martinez took third place with 14.23 per cent.

Bukele has promised to increase investment in education and fight corruption but his main task will be to implement new programs to confront insecurity.

However he will have to form an alliance with the right, which dominates congress.