New look for government in El Salvador

May 1 marked the changeover of local governments and deputies in El Salvador's legislature.   Following the left wing FMLN's defeats on March 4, this changeover is bigger than most.

In the National Assembly, Norman Quijano of ARENA will be the new president of the legislative body.   Quijano was formerly the mayor of San Salvador and ran unsuccessfully for president of El Salvador in 2014.    Quijano had the highest number of voter preferences cast in his name in the March 4 elections, but it would probably be wrong to suggest that he is a popular politician outside of the ARENA party ranks.

There was already a dust-up in the offices of the National Assembly when Norman Quijano complained that he arrived to find the offices of the president of the National Assembly void of furniture or computer equipment.   The outgoing president, Guillermo Gallegos of GANA, responded that nothing had been taken improperly.   Quijano stated that he planned to have the office checked for hidden cameras and microphones and to investigate if he could get a signal blocker to avoid someone spying on his private conversations.

The FMLN was largely left out of power in the leadership positions in the new legislature.   This reflects the new mathematical reality in that body, that the FMLN is powerless by itself to block any actions of the other parties.   The FMLN can only obtain legislative results in coalition with other parties, but it is not clear what the FMLN has to offer coalition partners, even though it is the party in control of the executive branch for at least another year.

In San Salvador, the mayor's office passed from Nayib Bukele to Ernesto Muyshondt of ARENA.   The transition occurred in a ceremony attended by both men.   Muyshondt's team very quickly, however, changed the color on city government communications from the light blue of Nukele's "Nuevas Ideas" to a darker color.    I wonder if they will repaint all the brand new garbage trucks?