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
At 3:37 PM, Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) president Eugenio Chicas broadcast an announcement on all local TV stations. In his message, he noted that more than 50% of the electorate has already voted and there is still over an hour left or more people to vote. He also made an announcement that the TSE had made a unanimous decision that a series of TV advertisements promoting different projects of the Funes Administration needed to be taken off the air immediately. He also ordered that a series of TV advertisements put out by the Movimiento 300 (300 Movement), which defines itself as a grouping of people “in disagreement with the political class,” also needed to be removed from the air.
Chicas also denounced that Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) party candidate Norman Quijano as well as several media sources have been illegally making announcements about preliminary results. According to electoral law, the TSE is the only body that can provide preliminary and final results.
Voting centers will open to poll workers to start setting up at 5 AM. They will open to the general public and voting will begin at 7 AM. At 5 PM the voting centers close, any voter already in line to vote at 5 PM is allowed to vote. Once voting ends, poll workers will count the votes at their voting tables and results will be electronically transmitted to a Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) center in San Salvador. TSE president Eugenio Chicas says they are confident they will be able to announce a result by 10 PM.
Stay tuned to this blog for news as well as observer reports from the CISPES, SHARE Foundation, and Sister Cities international observer delegations which will be in voting centers across the country from 5 AM until the last vote is counted and results are transmitted to San Salvador.