THE municipal and legislative
elections which took place March 11 in El Salvador
left a number of controversies in their wake,
promoted by governmental, economic and media forces.
These concern progress made by the right wing, which
the results show as only relative.
Elected, at the mid point of FLMN
President Mauricio Funes’
term, were 84 Legislative Assembly representatives
and 262 municipal governments, which will serve
three year terms, set to begin May 1.
The principal party of the right,
the National Republican Alliance (Arena), which
governed the country from 1989 through 2009, won 33
seats in the Assembly, one more than the number won
in the last election, January 18, 2009, and became
the majority party.
On the other hand, in the municipal
elections, Arena carried the voting in 117 cities,
five less than in the previous vote. The party did,
however, win in some traditional bastions of the
Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN).
The FLMN dropped from 35 legislators
to 31 and in the municipal elections, won 95 cities,
several of these Arena strongholds, although the
party emerged with one less municipal government, as
compared to 2009.
Amidst the opposition party’s
euphoria, Medardo González, FMLN General Secretary,
described the outcome, in an initial evaluation, as
a technical tie, given that the difference between
the votes garnered by the two parties amounted to
2.9% of the total cast nationally.
According to the preliminary ballot
count, as compared to 2009, Arena won an additional
17,000 votes, while support for the FLMN declined by
almost 140,000 votes, mainly in the densely
populated department of San Salvador, the country’s
The FMLN, which 20 years ago became
a legal party after years as a guerrilla movement,
reacted immediately in an honorable, forthright
"We inform the Salvadoran people
that we accept the results maturely and responsibly.
We will dispassionately study the causes and lessons
of this process, in order to make whatever
adjustments are needed and possible, committed to
improved work in the search for solutions to the
country’s serious problems.
"To our ranks, which have proven
themselves in victory and adversity, we request a
commitment to undertake a responsible evaluation, in
the spirit of self-criticism, putting above all else
the unity of the party, necessary if we are to
continue along the route to transformation."
González indicated that the process
of analysis had begun and that one of the principal
factors identified was the increase in the cost of
living, which is being forcefully denounced by urban
sectors and the middle class.
He emphasized the positive impact of
the government’s social programs in health care,
education and other areas which have benefited the
poorest layers of society and small farmers, who
contributed to the FLMN victories in many
He likewise indicated that these
policies are as yet inadequate and that investment
must be promoted, employment generated and other
measures taken to improve the quality of life in
He recalled that when Funes was
nominated as the candidate of the party, of which he
was not a member, a very limited joint analysis of
the situation in El Salvador, and changes needed,
was carried out.
González said, "We are optimistic
that, if we return to this path, complete an
adequate analysis and project ourselves precisely in
the two remaining years of this administration, we
can make important gains.
"As a political party, we have an
historic commitment to the people, it behooves us to
build the strength and the political program needed
to prevent Arena from returning to government power,"