Thursday, March 09, 2006

Election predictions favor FMLN

The official political campaigns closed at midnight on Wednesday. Campaigning is not permitted between now and the elections on Sunday. In my informal poll of readers of this blog, respondents predicted the FMLN would win the most seats in the National Assembly, would win the most mayorships, and would win in San Salvador.

I also asked five Salvadoran bloggers what they predicted. They unanimously agree with the prediction of an FMLN victory in the legislature and San Salvador, with one blogger abstaining. However, three of the five bloggers predicted that ARENA would control more mayorships than the FMLN.

I will take a risk and make my own predictions. I forecast that the FMLN will have more seats than ARENA in the National Assembly, similar to the situation after the 2003 elections. However, neither party will have a majority and will be forced to deal with the smaller parties in order to achieve anything.

ARENA will be in the mayor's office in the greatest number of municipalities. Salvadoran voters are going to be practical here. They know that Tony Saca continues as president for the next three years and that towns headed by ARENA mayors fare better when it comes to receiving assistance from the national government.

In San Salvador, Violeta Menjivar will continue the FMLN in the mayor's office. The surge of good feeling following Schafik Handal's funeral will carry her into office. (Before Handal's death I would have predicted that the vote on the left would be split between Menjivar and Carlos Rivas Zamora and ARENA's Samayoa would win).

5 comments:

wally said...

Evidently the government is concerned with the possibility of extranjeros influencing the elections, as we discovered Monday when we went to Guatemala to renew our tourist visa. Most tourist visas received at the border are automatically given for 90 days, although it is the discretion of the official to give you 30 or 60. But on Monday we were given 7 at the Guatemalan border, and we were told it would go down to 5 days on Tuesday, dropping continually during the week and that this applied to all extranjeros. It´s well within their rights to do so, but I´d never encountered this before and found it interesting.

Tim said...

Interesting. Similar policies were in place shortly before the 2004 presidential election, creating problems for some international election observer groups. In addition, ES has a law prohibiting foreigners from participating in political activity in the country.

El-Visitador said...

Wally,

It is regrettable you are facing having to renew your visa in just a week, and I feel for you. I know how frustrating it can be.

GOES does this because of hard lessons learned during the 1980's: the patchouli left crowd would descend on the country on the eve of the elections and raise trouble, one way or another. Just like today's global left travels from WTO meeting to G5 summit to Bush's trips; to protest, chain themselves, parade opressed natives... you get the picture.

The good news is, in just a few days, everything should go back to normalcy for you.

Anonymous said...

Maybe, your poll only reflects that the people educated that have access to internet and read english in El Salvador, preffers to FMLN, the bulk of the people that follows ARENA are poor.

El-Visitador said...

Anonymous reminds us of a very important point.

ARENA's stronghold are the campesinos. It is mostly the urban, generally employed, masses that weigh in for the FMLN.

This fact is somewhat unsettling to me, for what it portends for the future, but it should be even more upsetting, philosophically, for those in the international left that claim to speak for our "disposessed peasants."