Voting anything but the party line is viewed as an act of treason by El Salvador's political parties. On November 8, deputies in the National Assembly approved the country's 2013 budget. In the vote, four deputies of the ARENA party broke with their party and voted for the budget. The rest of ARENA abstained from voting on the budget while all other members of the legislature voted for it.
Monday, November 19, 2012
Voting differently from the party line resulted in ARENA expelling the four deputies from the party. The right wing party immediately called the straying deputies "traitors" and suggested they must have sold their votes. In contrast, president Funes stated in an interview that the four ARENA deputies were simply acting in a true democratic fashion.
Insisting on strict adherence to the party line is not unique to ARENA. In January 2005, the FMLN expelled two of its deputies who voted to approve the budget presented by president Tony Saca of ARENA.
Without the four expelled deputies, ARENA is no longer the largest party in the legislature.