A right-wing opposition party on Monday led by a slim margin in El Salvador’s general election in which the leftist government of President Mauricio Funes faced a key test of its popularity. With more than 89 percent of precincts reporting, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal said the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) was ahead with slightly over 39.7 percent of the vote. It was closely followed by the ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) with 36.8 percent. A conservative coalition named GANA led by ex-president Elias Antonio Saca, a congressional ally of the FMLN, was a distant third with just 9.4 percent of the ballot. Six smaller parties also fielded candidates.
The Salvadorian people on Thursday still awaited the official results of Sunday”s elections, but they have witnessed several allegations of irregularities that have followed the voting. The Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) has not so far issued detailed reports about the development of the process, which was delayed in its beginning and it is expected to end on Friday or Saturday. Vote counting is taking place at an exclusive hotel in San Salvador, and according to press reports, the contract will expire on Friday, forcing to move the process to the TSE building if it takes longer. The police have reinforced security in the hotel, in face of the arrival until Wednesday of many candidates to mayors, generally accompanied by followers, to present allegations of irregularities.
On March 11, El Salvador will hold elections for the country’s legislature and mayors in a test for the former guerrilla-group-turned-governing-party, the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN). In 2009, the FMLN won the presidency with the victory of President Mauricio Funes, as well as 35 of 84 congressional seats. This ended the two-decade-long rule of the conservative Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) following the civil war from 1980 to 1992. In the last election, the FMLN also won 96 out of 262 municipalities, but lost the vital mayoralty of San Salvador, which ARENA hopes to keep this year. In this election, the FMLN hopes to win at least 43 seats in order to have a congressional supermajority, but faces fractures within the party, as well as discontent among its base. The country’s legislative agenda could be at stake as the FMLN tries to push through reforms—and ARENA hopes to stop them.
El Salvador’s political parties prepare on Friday the closing of their campaigns when there are just eight days to the municipal and legislative elections on Sunday 11. The first party to announce their activities was the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), which will hold this weekend a caravan that will travel throughout the country. Previously, the general secretary of the FMLN, Medardo Gonzalez said the party is working to expand the number of its deputies in the Legislative Assembly, in which it has 35 seats of 84.
Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes says his Central American country will allow citizens living abroad to vote in the 2014 presidential election.
Funes says a government commission is looking into the necessary steps to implement absentee voting. He says the commission is getting advice from nations that already permit citizens out of the country to cast ballots.