Sunday, March 15, 2009

Presidential election day 2009



8:40 p.m. -- TSE just released its latest tallies: FMLN 51.60% ARENA 48.40% (73% tabulated)

8:30 pm -- still waiting for the TSE to release more official results. ARENA was just on TV asserting that their data is favorable.

7:45 p.m. -- The TSE just released its first preliminary results:

With 33.26% of voting table reports tabulated:

Arena: 426,108 48.72%
FMLN: 448,554 51.28%

Stay tuned.

6:45 pm Channel 21 Megavision has a preliminary count showing the FMLN winning 57% to 43%. TCS shows the FMLN with 53%. It's not looking good for ARENA.

6:30 p.m. -- Preliminary results from the government won't be released for another hour. Looking at the Channel 21 and some results they are displaying on the screen, it looks like the FMLN and Funes have the advantage in the early counting.

5:00 p.m. -- The polls in El Salvador are closed. People in line to vote at 5 will be allowed to vote. Then the votes are counted at each table with respresentatives of each party and election observers looking on. The media have agreed with the TSE that no preliminary results will be released until 7:30 El Salvador time. There do not seem to have been major irregularities discovered today.

4:30 p.m. -- UpsideDown World is broadcasting live audio reports from El Salvador. Go to this link for instructions. There is music when they are not doing news reports.

From Voices on the Border:

As a new report emerged that police have arrested 3 people for voter fraud in San Miguel, the University of Central American Institute of Public Opinion (IUDOP) held a press conference during which they recognized that the elections have been smooth and with only a few issues.

During a television interview, a TSE representative stressed this same point, that while there have been a few people that have tried to commit fraud, the majority of Salvadorans have taken part in these historic elections.

These declarations are being made as rumors of large numbers of foreigners voting around the country persist.

4:00 p.m. -- With one hour left to vote, Channel 21 reports that turnout levels are approaching 70%.

LPG put on its website a photogallery of the election day activities of Mauricio Funes.

3:30 p.m. -- With an hour and a half before the polls close, one user on Twitter writes: "There are no expressions of jubilation in the streets of San Salvador, there is anxiety." [my translation]

3:15 p.m. -- You can also follow the election on Twitter, with updates from many Salvadorans. Go here for the Twitter feed.

From the Twitter feed I learned of the press release of the Public Opinion Institute at the UCA which has observers throughout the country. The IUDOP found that the start of voting this morning was generally problem free, although it criticizes ongoing media coverage through the day as being limited and partial to ARENA.

There's also an excellent post (in Spanish) by Hunnapuh on his blog rounding up the opinions of the Salvadoran blogosphere.

2:15p.m. LPG reports that the police have detained 15 foreigners in San Salvador from Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras who were traveling in a pickup with ARENA markings and who carried Salvadoran identity cards (DUIs).

2:00 p.m. La Prensa has reported that through the first 5 hours, 1.5 million Salvadorans had voted out of a registered total of approximately 4.2 million eligible. If this rate continues, this would suggest a turnout of approximately 70%, up from 54% in the January elections.

LPG has posted a gallery of photos from this morning as Salvadorans go to the polls. See the photo gallery here. EDH has a gallery of photos from the voting in San Miguel here.

1:00 pm. Channel 21 just broadcast an interview with the PDDH (Human Rights Ombudsman) Oscar Luna. The PDDH has voluntary observers at voting sites whose role is to generate reports about any irregularity that they observe. Luna commended the civic spirit of Salvadorans and the peaceful process occurring throughout the country. Luna commented that unlike the situation in January, more than 90% of the voting centers opened on time. He had some concern that representatives of the Attorney general were not onsite at all the locations. Halfway through the day, there was nothing observed in terms of irregularities that was of major concern to the PDDH. Luna did confirm that the PDDH is investigating various reports that business owners told employees that they needed to vote in a particular way.



First post -- Noon El Salvador time:

The polls have been open in El Salvador for five hours and there are five hours left to go. Reports in the press and elsewhere indicate that turnout is good, although it is still too early to know what the final level of turnout will be.

There are a variety of snafus and problems in the early going, but nothing unusual yet for a Salvadoran election. Thousands of blank ballots were destroyed by water flooding at the center where Salvadorans who live outside the country can come and cast their vote. The attorney general's office did not have representatives at certain voting centers when they opened this morning. La Prensa Grafica reported that a woman in San Miguel with a Salvadoran identity card was detained after neighbors asserted that she was a Nicaraguan. At various locations there have been incidents of party propaganda too close to the voting centers.

There are a number of ways to follow the news of the elections today. Two Salvadoran TV stations stream live over the Internet -- Channel 21 here and Channel 33 here. The major newspapers are regularly posting updates -- El Diario de Hoy here and La Prensa Grafica here. US based organizations which are observing the elections and blogging in real time in English are CISPES here and Voices on the Border here.

And of course, for the rest of the day, you can look for coverage here at Tim's El Salvador Blog. I'll be updating this post, with new information added at the top of the post. If you get your updates from the blog by email, you will not get new emails each time I update the post. You will need to go to the website luterano.blogspot.com to see the updated post.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tim, fraud can happen out in the open in El Salvador, even with observers going on, if you have the perfect cover-up; with ARENA's control of the RNPN, in charge of handing out the DUIs, and the TSE, nothing can stop them from printing millions of additional DUIs. Not only that, but remember that several people pointed out in the past, that there are more "registered voters" than there are people apt and able to vote according to the 2007 census, not only that, but the TSE failed to purge the padron electoral to reflect the new population count, that was less than the 6-7 million estimated and existing during the 90s, they failed to purge the dead from the voting registry giving ample leeway for people usurping their IDs and voting.

Of course, ARENA's control isn't only limited to TSE, and RNPN, but to the general attorney's, which would be the body in charge to prosecute any cases regarding alleged voting anomalies, which because of obvious party alignment, they can simply refuse to do so. Reports on the radio and blogs, also says that the motorcades on which foreigners are arriving to vote are either escorted by police officers, armed men, or military. So, when you have this kind of government cooperation, you can successfuly steal an election even if you have UN, UE, OEA observers.

Speaking of observers, there were news of a Finnish Observer by the name of MARY ELISABETH MECKEL(A) that was/is being detained on the buildings of ARENA HQ, after riding a bus (according to the accusations) filled with foreigners to be as an observer that drove into ARENA HQ. As of 12:30am 15/3/09, she was yet to be released.

I am not sure how well versed are you in spanish, but I recommend reading the link below for more reports of anomalies:

http://pijazo.blogspot.com/2009/03/mas-denuncias-de-hace-menos-de-una-hora.html

Otto Rock said...

Tim,

FIW I've heard on the radio an unofficial, foreign based exit poll at with technical draw numbers, Avila 49.5% Funes 50.5%.

No net link (i've looked), sorry

Solavá said...

Tim, take a look at El Faro (elfaro.net). It's really close, with the FMLN winning by less than 2%.

FMLN: 50.94%
Arena: 49.06%

Anonymous said...

Will Salgado, the Mayor of San Miguel, just announced on a phone interview with Nacho Castillo that FMLN is currently leading on the ballot count, a trend that similar to those in Santa Ana and San Salvador (two of the most important departments of the country). While the ballot count hasn't finished, there are estimates that this trend will not vary much.

Anonymous said...

An addendum to the above that I forgot to mention. Will Salgado, Mayor of San Miguel, announced FMLN's lead in San Miguel. Just wanted to make it perfectly clear to avoid any misunderstandings. His estimate is merely regional, exclusive to his department, an not a reflection of the national scale.

However, commentary through out national television do echo estimates that FMLN is leading. Unfortunately I do not know what percentage of the voting urns remain to be tallied.

Is it still too early to claim victory?

Anonymous said...

Too early.

Tim said...

Watching Channel 21, it looks to me like a big Funes victory, not a close race. I heard that TCS has already declared Funes the winner unofficially and that Will Salgado has conceded defeat for his alliance with ARENA.

Solavá said...

As we hear the counting of the votes, it's really close. But the FMLN is already celebrating officially because the trend indicates, so far, that the FMLN will win.

Solavá said...

Channel 33 is just reporting the following:

FMLN: 52.97%
Arena: 47.63%

Anonymous said...

The rise and fall of a trend comes and goes.Final result still remains to be seen. Let us not be too caught up in the emotion of the moment.:-)

Solavá said...

First official report by TSE as of 7:30 pm, with 33.26% of voting acts:

Arena: 426,108 48.72%
FMLN: 448,554 51.28%

Anonymous said...

So, wage a mighty struggle against death squad ARENA

a carajo neoliberal scumbags we've got you on the run

the FMLN electoral victory has already begun

POLYCARPIO said...

"Minuto a Minuto" analyst: ARENA has to win by 17% in the remaining tallies in order to pull it out now.

POLYCARPIO said...

An update from the same analyst: ARENA would have to win by 25% with 86.5% of the vote now counted.