On Wednesday March 12, 2014, David Mungía Payes, Minister of Defense, announced at a press conference that the Salvadoran armed forces would respect the outcome of the elections, refuting claims made by ARENA presidential hopeful Norman Quijano that the army was prepared to act to intervene in what ARENA claims are fraudulent elections. Quijano’s statements were made the night of Election Day, when, despite preliminary results that gave the FMLN party the win, he proclaimed himself the next president of El Salvador.
Quijano’s words were intended to intimidate the Salvadoran populace given the armed forces’ lengthy history of initiating coup d’etats in El Salvador, as well as waging brutal repression against civilian population. Mungía Payes, however, stated on behalf of the armed forces that they will respect the final election results determined by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), and will not be manipulated or used as a threat against the will of the Salvadoran people.
Since the TSE announced the final elections results last night, which confirmed an FMLN victory, the ARENA party has continued its efforts to question the TSE’s institutional authority through unfounded claims of fraud and partisanship in order to prevent Sánchez Cerén from being named president and to set the stage for destabilization of the next government.
So far a multitude of international institutions have voiced their support for the TSE’s election results, and after Mungía Payes’ statements, it appears as though ARENA has even fewer allies left to support its empty threats against the electoral process and the country’s democratic institutions.