The Challenges for Funes
Mauricio Funes will take office on June 1 as El Salvador's first leftist president. His challenges will be many. An article from The Economist summarizes many of the challenges. Some of the challenges are political:
In the backroom bargaining that characterises Salvadoran politics, the support of the smaller parties is often won in exchange for high-profile positions on key congressional committees, or concessions on issues of particular interest to party leaders. In this manner, Mr Funes should be able to win sufficient support to pass some of his laws. Arena’s attitude, however, is likely to be one of non-co-operation with the new authorities. Without the support of Arena, the government will lack a two-thirds majority needed for certain reforms, and also to secure approval for budget financing from foreign sources, which raises the risk of fiscal and financing problems.
For Mr Funes, the relationship between his moderate government on the one hand, and the FMLN and its radical leadership, including the vice-president elect, Salvador Sánchez Ceren, on the other, will be key to defining his presidency. Although Mr Funes, a former television journalist, was nominated unanimously for the candidacy by the FMLN, he has not been given a blank cheque to rule. He already broken some traditional party taboos during campaigning (in particular, supporting the Dominican Republic-Central America Free-Trade Agreement and dollarisation of the economy), but in office the FMLN will expect to have a say in defining many policy aspects.
The article goes on to explain that Funes will also continue to face a hostile conservative media as well as a private sector still linked to ARENA. Lessening confidence and uncertainty will make it more difficult to address the economic downturn.