Check out an excellent article about Sunday’s elections on Upside Down World by CISPES Executive Director Alexis Stoumbelis. You can read the original post on UDW here. A copy of the article is available after the jump.
From Democracy Now! http://www.democracynow.org/2014/3/10/leftist_ex_rebel_holds_narrow_lead
Both candidates have claimed victory in El Salvador’s presidential election after a preliminary count showed the vote was too close to call. The race pitted the governing party’s Salvador Sánchez Cerén against the right-wing candidate Norman Quijano. Sánchez Cerén, a former rebel commander, was running to replace Mauricio Funes, marking the first time an FMLN candidate succeeds another after decades of right-wing governments. Sánchez Cerén was seen as the favorite coming in but the latest results show him ahead less than 1 percent. We go to El Salvador to speak with Laura Embree-Lowry of CISPES, the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador.
Members of ARENA’s executive committee just held a press conference declaring victory. When the press conference was held, 77.16% of voting tables were reporting, and the FMLN lead over ARENA, but only by 0.16%. According to the Director of El Faro, Carlos Dada, “It is very irresponsible for a political party to declare victory at this point.”
The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) held a press conference about an hour ago, in which they said no tendency had yet been established, and called on the Salvadoran people and political parties to remain calm and await the final results.
This has raised concerns that ARENA will not respect the final results as announced by the TSE.
Francisco Gómez, a member of the Telecommunications Industry Workers Union (SITCOM), appeared on El Salvador’s national television station TVES this morning to denounce coercive actions by maquila factory owners to convince workers to vote for the right-wing ARENA party. He reported that a factory owner in the San Marcos free trade zone invited workers to a breakfast with Norman Quijano, candidate for ARENA, and that after Quijano left, the boss made threats against workers. Continue reading
Posted by CISPES
News outlets have been reporting that the voter ID registration centers were flooded with applicants seeking to replace or renew their ID cards over the past few days. After the February 2 election, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) announced that there were over 500,000 people on the 2014 voter registry whose ID card (known as a DUI) had expired and hence would be unable to vote until they were renewed. Continue reading
On Monday March 3, during a celebration to commemorate International Women’s Day hosted by the first Lady and Secretary of Social Inclusion Vanda Pignato, FMLN presidential candidate Salvador Sánchez Cerén signed the “Defense of Women’s Civil and Political Rights Agreement.” Sánchez Cerén committed to continuing and further developing the programs started under the Funes government which benefit the rights of women and their full participation in politics.
Neither Norman Quijano nor his running mate René Portillo Cuadra were present at the event. Quijano justified the ARENA presidential ticket’s absence by saying many of the agreement’s components violate the party’s Christian principles. “When it mentions [in the agreement] that a woman’s body is her own, […] it’s saying that she can dispose of the fetus in her body, and that’s giving abortion the green light,” stated Quijano. He additionally cited a section that gives people “the right to marry whom they choose” as a potential pro-gay marriage statement, one which he could not support. Continue reading
Right-wing protesters outside of the TSE (Photo: La Prensa Grafica)
Attacks attempting to discredit El Salvador’s electoral authority, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), have increased in recent weeks. Most recently, lawsuits have been filed with the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court that question the constitutionality of TSE magistrates Eugenio Chicas and Walter Araujo. In addition to the Supreme Court cases, ARENA activists have staged a series of protests outside the TSE and submitted a formal complaint against the TSE to the Attorney General’s Office for an unrelated issue earlier in the month. Considering that the official Organization of American States (OAS) observer mission as well as international observer missions invited by civil society groups and even the U.S. Embassy have highlighted the transparency and fairness of the February 2nd electoral process, the efforts to discredit the TSE seem out of place. With polls showing a likely victory for the FMLN in the March 9th runoff election, the attempts to cast doubt on the integrity of the TSE appear to be laying the groundwork for later questioning the legitimacy of the expected leftist victory. Continue reading