Presidential hopeful Nayib Bukele casts his ballot as he and his wife Gabriela vote in the presidential election in San Salvador, El Salvador, Feb. 3, 2019.
Presidential hopeful Nayib Bukele casts his ballot as he and his wife Gabriela vote in the presidential election in San Salvador, El Salvador, Feb. 3, 2019.

Turnout is reported to be heavy as El Salvador votes for a new president.

Polls leading up to Sunday's election favored the former mayor of San Salvador, Nayib Bukele.

All four candidates are promising the same things to voters, including more economic opportunities and efforts to tackle gangs and crime. El Salvador has one of the world's highest murder rates.

But Bukele, who has always considered himself to be a liberal, has been critical of the ruling leftists. He is running as a candidate with the newly-formed conservative Grand Alliance for National Unity.

Two parties - the left-leaning FMLN and conservative ARENA party - have dominated Salvadoran politics since the end of the civil war in 1992.

Presidential candidate Carlos Calleja, center, and
Presidential candidate Carlos Calleja, center, and his wife Andrea vote in presidential elections in San Salvador, El Salvador, Feb. 3, 2019.

But neither party has been able to successfully neutralize gangs or revitalize the economy.

Many voters say both traditional parties are corrupt and say they are more than ready for change.

About a third of Salvadorans live in poverty and the country has a murder rate of 51 per 100,000 people.

Many Salvadorans joined the Central American caravans to the U.S.-Mexican border to seek a better life in the United States.

If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote Sunday, the two front-runners will compete in a runoff in March.