Posts

One party rule comes to El Salvador

Image
Five days after the elections in El Salvador, more of the smoke has cleared and the scope of the election victories of Nuevas Ideas, the political party of president Nayib Bukele is more visible.   Although final results will not be declared until next week, the size of the tidal wave which is sweeping through the halls of power is obvious: Legislative Assembly for 2021-24 (and change from current Assembly): Nuevas Ideas 56 deputies (+56) ARENA 14 deputies  (-23) GANA  5  deputies (-5) FMLN 4  deputies (-19) PCN 2 deputies (-7) Nuestro Tiempo 1 deputy (+1) VAMOS 1 deputy (+1) PDC (1) deputy (-2)  Local elections    Candidates from Nuevas Ideas won election as mayor in 149 of the country's 262 municipalities.   This included 13 of the 14 cites which are department seats including the biggest prize, San Salvador.   In San Salvador, Mario Duran, the former Minister of Governance in Nayib Bukele's cabinet won easily over the current mayor Ernesto Muyshondt of ARENA.   Candidates fr

Nayib Bukele consolidates control over El Salvador as Nuevas Ideas dominates election

Image
Preliminary results from Sunday's national elections in El Salvador show that president Nayib Bukele has consolidated power as his Nuevas Ideas party took commanding control of the country's legislature.   The party appears certain to have achieved the 2/3rds majority necessary not only to pass laws, but to appoint the next attorney general and members of the supreme court.   It was a decisive rebuke to the older parties, ARENA and FMLN, which had governed the country for decades. TSE graph of preliminary results as of 6:30 Monday morning      The preliminary election results posted by El Salvador's Supreme Electoral Tribunal can be viewed here . Nuevas Ideas and Bukele swept the Legislative Assembly elections for three main reasons. First, the president has successfully promoted a vision of El Salvador as a leading country in the region with a bright future. Second, the attacks on the incumbent parties in power ring true with the population. Third, the Salvado

Other pre-election coverage

Image
Here is a collection of news coverage and analysis of the upcoming elections in El Salvador. In English from a variety of viewpoints: A Millennial Authoritarian Wins Over El Salvador  (Mac Margolis in Bloomberg)  "This weekend’s legislative elections could make President Nayib Bukele his country’s most powerful leader in a generation." The elections in El Salvador could make or break Biden’s Central America policy .  (Michael Paarlberg and Ricardo J. Valencia in Washington Post)  "President Nayib Bukele has been acting more and more like an authoritarian." Why El Salvador's Multi-Party System is on the Brink of Collapse  (Oscar Pocasangre in El Faro) "I propose two interrelated explanations for the likely demise of Arena and the FMLN: changes in the electoral rules and the poor performance of both parties at controlling crime while getting tainted by corruption scandals."  El Salvador election could remake political landscape (Marcos Aleman of AP) &qu

Upcoming 2021 mayoral elections in El Salvador

Image
Ballot for San Salvador Mayor Salvadorans will be going to the polls Sunday to elect mayors in all 262 municipalities across the country. Unlike elections for legislators which also happen that day, local mayoral elections are much more about the individuals running for office, how well incumbents have done their jobs, and about the strength of on-the-ground organizing efforts.  Simply put, people know the name of their mayor and how well they are serving the local neighborhood, while they frequently have no idea of the names of the deputies who represent their department in the national congress. The marquee mayoral race is the competition for mayor of San Salvador, the capital and El Salvador's largest city.  The current mayor is Ernesto Muyshondt from ARENA who is seeking re-election.   Muyshondt won the post in 2018 by a landslide after the FMLN expelled the incumbent mayor, Nayib Bukele, from the party.  The fact that Muyshondt has been linked to delivering thousands of dolla

Why upcoming elections in El Salvador matter

Image
Salvadorans go to the polls on Sunday, February 28 to elect legislators and mayors nationwide. But one name looms over all others, and he is not even on the ballot. Nayib Bukele, the highly popular president of El Salvador, has made it clear that he wants a clean sweep of El Salvador's legislature and to have his party members installed instead. That just may happen, and a populist president may be able to go forward in his presidency with few restraints on what he wants to do. Since taking office on June 1, 2019, Nayib Bukele has governed without members of his newly formed party, Nuevas Ideas, in the Salvadoran Legislative Assembly. Instead, he has battled with a congress dominated by opposition political parties which he has continually labelled as “the same ones as always,” “ thieves” and “those corrupt ones.” Those current members of the legislature were elected in 2018 when Bukele was not on any ballot and his Nuevas Ideas party did not yet exist. Bukele had pr

Religious leaders decry political atmosphere in El Salvador

Image
69 Catholic, Protestant and Evangelical Christian leaders in El Salvador published an open letter to the Salvadoran public on Ash Wednesday, February 17.   My English translation follows: “I have seen the affliction of my people” Exodus 3:7 We, pastors and priests of various Christian denominations, with deep concern about the situation of sin that permeates Salvadoran politics and society in general, wish to express the truth in love to churches, and people in general, to warn them against temptations, false doctrines and political idolatries. We express our deep unease at a dangerous time when the churches are exposed to the temptations and bribes of power that seek to silence their prophetic voice when, rather, they should be attentive to Paul's exhortation: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed through the renewing of your mind, to be able to discern the will of God: what is good, acceptable, and perfect" (Romans 12: 2). We express our deep regret over

Political campaign advertising in El Salvador

Image
In El Salvador, there are ten days left before the February 28 elections for members of El Salvador's legislature and its mayors. The nonpartisan group Citizen Action monitors the amount of campaign ad spending by the contending political parties.  Its most recent report showed that parties spent more that $5.2 million in advertising during the month of January, primarily on television ads: Campaign spending totals showed Nuevas Ideas far outspending the other parties in the entire period from November 27, 2020 through January 31, 2021 according to the Monitoring Center of Citizen Action.   Of the $7.1 million spent by the parties during that period, $5.3 million or 75% of all spending, was by Nayib Bukele's Nuevas Ideas party.   Nuevas Ideas candidates have one primary message – we’re with Nayib.   In San Salvador – billboards for Nuevas Ideas candidate for mayor Mario Dura proclaim :   “Vote for the Nuevas Ideas of Nayib” and others promise the return of "one project p