ARENA candidate Quijano’s campaign has been sanctioned more than any other. (Photo: VerdadDigital.com)
According to El Salvador’s electoral authority, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) party has been sanctioned for violating electoral regulations more than any other party. Eugenio Chicas, President of the TSE, told the press, “The ARENA party has received 29 complaints and the UNIDAD Movement has around 7 complaints.”
Most recently, the TSE required that ARENA stop airing a TV commercial they determined slandered the leftist Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) candidate Salvador Sánchez Cerén, who is also the current Vice-President of the country.
This past Friday, the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court issued a resolution that prohibits public functionaries from participating in the current presidential campaign, regardless of whether they do it outside of work hours or not. In a statement, the judges said the participation of mayors, legislators, and ministers in the electoral campaign violates Article 218 of the Constitution which states public functionaries “cannot take advantage of their positions for partisan politics”.
Current president, Mauricio Funes, who had previously issued guidelines to his ministers to only participate in campaign events outside of work hours, has since instructed his officials to abide by the Court’s decision. It comes six days before the close of the official campaign period for the Feb 2 presidential elections, so is unlikely to greatly impact any party’s campaign at this point. During the 20 years that the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) party governed the country (1989-2009), it was customary for presidents to use their political power to campaign. Ex-President, Tony Saca, as president toured throughout El Salvador to campaign for the ARENA presidential candidate in 2009.
Photo: Transparencia Activa
Since the beginning of the New Year and with the February 2nd presidential elections less than two weeks away, El Salvador has seen a dramatic increase in homicides. In the month of January, El Salvador has seen an average of 9.4 violent deaths per day, a shocking increase from months past, many of them carried out en masse and reminiscent of death squad-style murders.
On January 16th, the President’s Communication Secretary released the following statement. (Unofficial translation into English by U.S.-El Salvador Sister Cities).
President Mauricio Funes expressed concern about the recent reported increase in violence attributed to gang members because, according to intelligence reports, it could be related to the electoral situation in the country.
“I worry that there is a relationship or there could be a relationship between this insistence on the part of ARENA that Salvadorans are tired of the crime wave sweeping the country, with the increase in homicides,” said the president in his press release.