Elections -- what to watch for

This Sunday, March 11, will be the ninth national elections in El Salvador since the 1992 peace accords which ended the country's civil war.   Voters will go to the polls to elect deputies to the National Assembly and mayors in all the country's municipalities.

Here are some of the things I'll be watching for, in addition to simply counting how many municipalities and legislative seats are gained by each of the political parties.

  • The rules for voting have changed, how much confusion is there at the polls because of residential voting or the voting for individual candidates?
  • Now that voters can express their preferences for particular deputies, do any of the party regulars lose their seats in the National Assembly?
  • How well do the very few independent candidates fare in the elections?
  • Watch the votes in San Salvador.  Does Norman Quijano, the incumbent mayor from ARENA, win a greater percentage of votes in his election than ARENA wins in the National Assembly from San Salvador?   This would tend to indicate that some voters are splitting their choices, and not just following party allegiance.
  • Voters seem to be more disillusioned about their politicians this year.   Does this reduce turnout?
  • This is the first election for GANA, the party formed as a split-off from ARENA after the 2009 elections.   How well does it compete against the major parties ARENA and FMLN?