Salvador Sánchez Cerén declared winner of El Salvador's presidential elections

Last night Salvador Sánchez Cerén, the candidate of the left wing FMLN party in El Salvador was officially declared the winner of the March 9 elections to be president of the country.   The announcement came after a process called the "final scrutiny"  where voting tally sheets from every voting station were compared with the preliminary results released on Sunday night.   There were some revisions to the results which produced final totals which were higher than the preliminary totals, but ARENA was not able to close the gap.   The final total was 1,495,815 for Ceren to 1,489,451 for Quijano, or 50.11% to 49.89%.

ARENA has not yet accepted the results.   Party members continued demonstrating throughout the day demanding that the ballots be unsealed and the votes counted "voto por voto."   Norman Quijano continued to allege that ARENA had proof of significant fraud by the FMLN, but that proof has not been shared with the public.  ARENA claimed that 20,000 FMLN poll workers had voted twice on Sunday.  Meanwhile every observer of the election from the Salvadoran attorney general's office (who had a representative at every voting center) to El Salvador's Human Rights ombudsman to various international election observer organizations all repeated that Sunday's elections appeared free and fair.
During the day on Wednesday, March 12, the armed forces made it clear that they would respect the decision of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, impliedly refuting the statements of Norman Quijano on Sunday night that the army would be ready to "make democracy."

The process leaves the country tense and polarized.  As of this morning, ARENA's next step is not clear.


Rip said…
And I'm hearing stories about ARENA supporters voting twice, impersonating TSE officials, etc. Probably says something about my circle of friends that I'm not hearing about any FMLN trickery, and I'm inclined to assume that some occurred on both sides, probably canceling each other out. But what concerns me most is ARENA's rejection of a constitutional process, the history of their actions in the face of decisions with which they disagree, and the scary message Quijano is sending with his rhetoric. We pray for peace in all lands, but especially where differences of opinion have historically led to the sorts of atrocities experienced not that long ago in El Salvador.
Nell said…
The Army's fine with the results; they're keeping the Defense Ministry. The U.S. govt is fine with the results; they have little to fear from an FMLN without a real mandate or a legisltive majority.

So it's really not clear to me what ARENA can do now that won't just dig a deeper hole for them.
Nell said…
Speaking of digging deeper holes: rightists hacked the TSE twitter feed on Monday morning, and again yesterday. The last two hacked tweets are still up:

(12 March, 7:17 PM ES time)
Si la tendencia no cambia, @ARENAOFICIAL será declarado ganador de las elecciones presidenciales 2014.

(12 March, 11:14 AM ES time)
Hay pruebas de #FraudeElectoral las cuales ya fueron presentadas a las autoridades. Hubo #VotoDoble
Carlos X. said…
Sanchez Ceren should immunize himself against claims of legitimacy early and soundly. It should not be hard. First, he should send a conciliatory message: "ARENA, I won't turn El Salvador into Venezuela, but you shouldn't do so either with destabilizing protests and bad faith claims." Then, he should get all the international recognition he can muster. He should try to personally meet with Obama and the Pope, he should lobby to have Kerry attend the inauguration, he should go chummy with all the other parties in El Salvador, etc. Nip all the illegitimacy arguments at the bud.
Greg said…
The numbers are so close it is clear the FMLN candidate did not secure a clear political mandate. Nor did the ARENA candidate lose one.

Hopefully the Art of Compromise will occur as the new government is installed so the People of El Salvador are truly benefited.

The military assumed the correct position for all appropriate and wise reasons. Significant among these, IMHO, is that it realizes neither the FMLN nor ARENA is politically secure without the military as their overseer.

I recall, as a monitor/American advisor, the elections in 1984 and the turbulance, violence and manipulation both sides utilized.

President Duarte was the preferred candidate of the United States and of the Salvadoran People and I think he did a fine job during that historical election and administration.

It is so much better today to see an essentially peaceful exchange of expected allegations, threats, "Twitter Hacks" and polticial discourse than what occurred in 1984.

When voters walked for miles to cast their ballots, often times pinned down on roads and pathways by gunfire from one bias or the other...and far too many were wounded or killed yet still they came and set the country on its current political trajectory.

Lest we forget.

Carlos X. said…
Clearly Sanchez Ceren does not have a mandate. This should mean that he ought not undertake massive changes to the system, particularly not ones that lock him in power or extend his ability to govern, because doing so would be undemocratic. However, he should do everything he can and everyone ought to support him in doing this, so that his lack of a mandate is distinguished from some sort of taint of illegitimacy that weakens the institutions that the Peace Accords produced. Moreover, El Salvador needs stability and social cohesion, not just for the government to function and for the democratic state to succeed, but for the economy to improve, for people to come together and overcome the corruption and crime, and to basically make it thorugh the next five years. Then there will be another election and the losers this go around get another shot. That's how it goes, that's how the game is played, and everyone should understand that.
Hodad said…
just in, he is the winner and they threw out the appeal,
thank God,
Viva El Frente

so now time to move on, time for me to get back to ES and get to work, and maintain dialogue with the MCC funding folks