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.
El Salvador’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal Monday dismissed opposition claims of irregularities and confirmed the leftist ruling party candidate as president-elect. Salvador Sanchez Ceren, a former guerrilla commander who ran in the March 9 vote, will be presented with his credentials on Tuesday, said the head of the court, Eugenio Chicas.
A former Marxist guerrilla leader won El Salvador’s presidential election by less than 7,000 votes, final results showed on Thursday, and his right-wing rival continued to press to have the vote annulled. Salvador Sanchez Ceren of the ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), which as a militant group fought a string of U.S.-backed governments in a 1980-1992 civil war, won 50.11 percent support in Sunday’s vote, results showed. Challenger Norman Quijano, the 67-year-old former mayor of San Salvador and candidate of the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (Arena) party, had 49.89 percent support. He has filed a claim to annul the election due to fraud. The electoral tribunal’s president, Eugenio Chicas, said the five-member court unanimously validated the election results, showing that Sanchez Ceren beat Quijano by 6,364 votes.
A recount of the results of El Salvador’s presidential election will be completed no sooner than Thursday, the country’s election authorities said Tuesday, following a surprisingly close run-off vote over the weekend. Fewer than 7,000 votes separated former guerrilla commander Salvador Sanchez Ceren from conservative rival Norman Quijano, according to a preliminary count on Monday. Initial results showed that the left-wing candidate Ceren claimed 50.11% of the vote, while Quijano, the right-wing mayor of the capital city, won 49.89% of ballots. While the Supreme Electoral Tribunal said it would not announce a winner before a manual count had been completed, it expressed doubts the preliminary results would be reversed.
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.
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.
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.