Salvadorans cast ballots yesterday in legislative and municipal elections that will serve as a test of strength of leftist President Salvador Sanchez Ceren in his final year of office. Police and army troops were deployed across the country to provide security for the elections, the ninth since a 1992 peace accord ended a bloody 12-year civil war. “The elections are taking place peacefully across the country,” but “there have been some difficulties” in staffing voting stations in some areas, Sanchez Ceren said after voting at a school in San Salvador. “The process is a little complex and there won’t be very quick results,” he said.
At stake are all 84 seats in the single-chamber Congress and mayoralties and council seats in the tiny Central American country’s 262 municipalities.
The main parties participating in the elections are the ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Movement (FMLN), and the Republican Nationalist Alliance (ARENA), a conservative opposition party that is favored to make gains.
The two parties were deadly opponents during the civil war, with guerrilla groups under the banner of the FMLN fighting against a succession of US-backed governments. ARENA, for its part, was co-founded in 1981 by Roberto D’Aubuisson, a soldier linked to right-wing death squads.