Results for El Salvador’s bungled legislative and mayoral vote will not be available for another 14 days, the president of the country’s electoral authority said on Wednesday, blaming the delay on “sabotage.” Salvadorans on Sunday voted for 84 new lawmakers and mayors who will be in office for the next four years. But three days after the election, there are still no results. “There was sabotage in the transmission of electronic votes and we are going to present it in court and lots of people will be fired,” the president of the electoral authority, Julio Oliva, said at a news conference, adding that he would provide more details on Thursday.
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).
Salvadorans go to the polls on Sunday to elect new legislators and local officials in a tight contest between the ruling Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front, FMLN, and the conservative Nationalist Republican Alliance, ARENA, for control of the Legislative Assembly. Voters in El Salvador will also elect 262 new mayors, some 3,000 municipal council members and 20 country representatives for the Central American Parliament. For the first time, voters will be able to select individual candidates from any party rather than being forced to vote for a single party with an established list of candidates. Voters can still opt to simply choose a party.
Political parties in El Salvador formally wrapped up their campaigns Wednesday ahead of local and legislative elections schedule for March 1, 2015. The close of the campaign period gives three days for the population to decide their vote without the influence of the publicity campaigns of the parties. Electors in Latin America’s smallest country will head to the polls to elect mayors as well as representatives to the country’s Legislative Assembly.
A former Marxist rebel commander’s tiny lead in El Salvador’s presidential election is irreversible, the country’s electoral tribunal said on Monday, but his right-wing challenger demanded a full recount, insisting he was the real winner. Salvador Sanchez Ceren of the ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), which as a rebel group fought a string of U.S.-backed governments in the 1980-1992 civil war, claimed victory on Sunday after preliminary results showed he had won 50.11 percent support. Challenger Norman Quijano, a former mayor of San Salvador and candidate of the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (Arena) party, had 49.89 percent support. The two men were separated by just 6,634 votes.
A former Marxist guerrilla leader looks poised to win El Salvador’s presidential election runoff on Sunday as voters embrace his ruling party’s social programs despite opposition allegations that he plans to veer the country to the radical left. Polls show Salvador Sanchez Ceren, a top leader of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) rebel army during the country’s 1980-92 civil war, with about 55 percent support ahead of the runoff vote, enough to secure his party a second consecutive term. His opponent Norman Quijano, the conservative former mayor of the capital, San Salvador, trails with about 45 percent amid waning support for his right-wing Arena party. Quijano has warned the ex-rebel will move El Salvador to the radical left and bow to the influence of Latin America’s leading U.S. antagonist, socialist-led Venezuela.
A former leftwing guerrilla leader took a strong early lead in El Salvador’s presidential election on Sunday but he could still face a run-off against a conservative rival who wants to deploy the army to fight powerful street gangs, early results showed. Salvador Sanchez Ceren, a rebel commander who rose to the top of the now-ruling leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) during El Salvador’s civil war, had 49.2% support with votes in from about 45.4% of polling booths. His rightwing opponent, former San Salvador mayor Norman Quijano, had 38.9%. If no one wins more than half of the vote, the two leading candidates will go to a run-off on March 9.
Salvadorans vote Sunday in a presidential election that may give former leftist rebels a second chance at government — or return national leadership to the right-wing party that ruled the country for two decades. Opinion surveys have shown an extremely tight race, especially with the entrance of a new third party run by a former conservative president with family members tied to notorious corruption cases. More than 20 years after the end of a civil war in which more than 75,000 people were killed, choices remain stark in El Salvador. When the left won the presidency in 2009 for the first time in modern Salvadoran history, there were high expectations about change and progressive policies after a generation of conservative rule. But many Salvadorans now express disappointment in a country where international drug trafficking has made great inroads, gangs control entire neighborhoods, and economic growth has plummeted.
Presidential candidates for the 2014 elections in El Salvador started their campaigns and set the tones of their proposals and messages to the population. The race for the citizen vote started with diverse activities organized by the parties, two of them out of the capital city. In San Salvador, Sánchez Cerén y Oscar Ortiz, presidential and vice-presidential candidates of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), walked around important avenues of the city, surrounded by thousands of supporters. “We will have a respectful campaign and we ask the other candidates to respect us”, said Vice president Sánchez Cerén.
On Sunday, El Salvador’s 4.5 million voters went to the polls to select the 84 deputies of the unicameral congress as well as the mayors of the 262 municipalities across the country. As with most off-year elections (ones without a presidential candidate on the ballot), this election was seen as an important gauge of public sentiment in preparation for the 2014 presidential elections. There have been important changes in the political landscape of El Salvador since the last presidential election that makes this an important election to analyze. In 2009 the FMLN, with Mauricio Funes at the lead, won the presidency after almost 20 years as the primary opposition party in the country. In true democratic fashion, the people gave the opposition a chance to govern. For its part, after governing the country for almost two decades the center-right party ARENA was seen as stagnating and in need of rejuvenation. The final outcome of this process of entropy had seen ARENA struggling to contain fallout emanating from a brutal struggle between itself and former President Tony Saca.
By 1 p.m. in the afternoon on Sunday, the sun was beating down hard on the polling center in Metapán, a mid-sized town in El Salvador just 15 kilometers south of the Guatemalan border. While there was nothing strange about the scorching sun, these national assembly and municipal elections were the first of their kind. To the surprise of the FMLN (Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front), the former rebel group turned political party whose candidate Mauricio Funes won the Presidency in 2009, the right-wing ARENA (National Republican Alliance) gained seats in the national assembly following electoral reforms that the right-wing had pushed through.
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.