Possible ARENA presidential candidates in 2019

The next presidential elections in El Salvador do not take place until 2019, but there is already ample speculation about who might be the candidates of the major political parties.  

Within the right wing ARENA party, several candidates have already announced their intentions to seek the party's nomination.    One candidate is Carlos Calleja, vice-president of the group which owns the Super Selectos chain of supermarkets in the country, who confirmed his intentions this morning.   He is promoting himself as bringing a "Nueva visión / New vision" for the country.

Another candidate from the sphere of business is Javier Simán, whose family name is on the Simán chain of department stores.    Javier Simán has not officially announced that he is a candidate, but today launched his citizen platform "Mi Gente" where he says he will tour the country listening to the population's problems and their suggestions.

The third businessman candidate is Gerardo Awad.    Awad is a 31 year old from a family whose wealth comes from operating maquila factories in El Salvador.    Awad actually announced his presidential ambitions in 2015.   He has been characterized as a "lone wolf" operating outside fo the channels of power within ARENA.

Also announcing that he will seek ARENA's nomination in 2019 is Luis Parada,   Parada is a lawyer living in the US, who has stated his intention to return to El Salvador to campaign for the presidency.  It's not clear how much support he has within the country.

There are other names floating around within ARENA from the party's recognized politicians.   One name is Ana Vilma de Escobar.   She was the country's first female vice president in 2004, and the ARENA deputy in the National Assembly who received the most votes in the most recent elections.

Another name is Norman Quijano.   Quijano was ARENA's candidate in the 2014 presidential election, narrowly losing to Salvador Sánchez Cerén.   Before that, Quijano was the mayor of San Salvador.

2019 might be the year for the outsider businessman candidate running on the ticket of El Salvador's conservative ARENA party.   With all political parties in El Salvador having abysmal approval ratings, an outsider may have the best chance.

The presidential candidate possibilities in the FMLN are much murkier at this point.   I'll discuss those in a future post.