At the beginning of this week, there were four candidates for president of El Salvador to be elected on March 15. Now there are only two:
The National Conciliation Party [PCN] announced it was leaving the race for lack of funds and expelled its candidate for refusing to abide by the decision. The candidate for another small conservative party, the Christian Democrats, dropped out of the race earlier this week.
Since dropping out, neither party has taken sides in the race, although many Salvadorans believe a deal was struck with Arena for their departure. “I have no doubt that this is because of some request from Arena,” said Roberto Rubio, a political analyst and director of the National Foundation for Development.
There was no doubt that a deal had been cut in the mind of Ernesto Rivas, who called the PCN, the "most prostituted" party in the history of the country. Regardless of the underlying reasons, the departure of the PCN and Christian Democrats from the races, leaves only Mauricio Funes of the FMLN and Rodrigo Avila of ARENA to contend in the elections five weeks away. No longer is there the prospect of the minor parties taking enough votes to force a second round of voting if Funes or Avila did not achieve an absolute majority on March 15.