Sunday, January 22, 2006

Electoral campaigns in El Salvador

The election season in El Salvador is in full swing. Here are some themes I plan to watch for as the campaigns develop:

Does the fracturing on the left lead to ARENA victories? One of the top stories of left year was the departure of reformers from the FMLN as the party was unable to manage internal divisions. The leading example is the mayoral race in San Salvador where the current mayor, Carlos Rivas Zamora, is running as a candidate of a center left coalition. This might split the vote which traditionally has given the FMLN control of San Salvador's municipal government and turn it over to ARENA.

Do Salvadorans vote for the party or the candidate? When I was in El Salvador at the end of the year, two friends had a spirited discussion on this topic. When a popular figure leaves the FMLN, like Nejapa mayor Rene Canjura, will the strongly FMLN voters of his city vote for him or vote their traditional loyalty to the party under the red banner?

Is political violence under control? Already ARENA and the FMLN are accusing each other of sponsoring violence. Tony Saca has accused the FMLN of recruiting gang members to do its dirty work. The FMLN spokesman has accused ARENA of forming armed squads who travel the country provoking violent incidents with FMLN supporters.

1 comment:

Bill said...


Thanks for your blog! I've added you to my blogroll today and look forward to checking frequently here. I've long wished for a compact format where I could read more in English about El Salvador.

All the Best,