Election authorities in El Salvador decided to skip the customary preliminary vote count and proceed straight to the final count after a series of technical mishaps. Meanwhile, candidates from both the ruling Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) and the main opposition party, the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA), have declared victories in key mayoral and legislative races. The delays are fueling suspicions and stoking harsh criticism toward the country’s voting authority, the Supreme Electoral Tribune (TSE).
This year’s election is a tight contest between the ex-guerrilla FMLN and the conservative ARENA party for control of the Legislative Assembly. El Mundo, one of the country’s morning newspapers, wrote Tuesday in an editorial that the TSE had failed all tests regarding the vote count.
“Chaos…has reached such a level that not even when votes were counted by hand was there as much delay as there is now,” the paper wrote.
The editorial also criticized the electoral authorities for what it said was a lack of communication with the public regarding problems with the vote count.