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A precarious victory in El Salvador
Monday, March 17, 2014
In the first round of the Salvadoran elections on Feb 2 no party got the required 50% plus one vote to win the elections: left-wing FMLN: 49%, right-wing ARENA: 38%. Therefore, a run-off election was held on Mar 9. Due to very close results in the second round (50.11% FMLN and 49.89% ARENA), the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) waited to declare a winner, and did so on March 16. IRTF sent election observers for both the Feb 2 and Mar 9 elections.
Mar 17 - On March 16, El Salvador’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), officially confirmed that the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) hadindeed won a hard fought and extremely close race (6,364 vote margin out of 3 million)… The elections were declared free and fair by international observers and the US State Department…
The vote marks a hard-fought victory for the FMLN’s ambitious economic agenda, which has included a host of new social programs that have improved education and healthcare for millions of Salvadorans…
Yet in response to his electoral defeat, ARENA candidate Norman Quijano cried fraud, pushing back the official announcement of a winner by the TSE by several days. Quijano, who had previously declared victory with only 70 percent of votes counted, subsequently called on the Salvadoran military to “implement democracy.” But … the armed forces are “committed to respecting the electoral results issued by the Salvadoran Electoral Tribunal.”
… by threatening to withhold foreign aid, the United States coerced El Salvador into enacting last year’s Public-Private Partnership law, which privatizes public services and assets … - the tenets of which were rejected by Salvadoran voters themselves - it appears that the United States still isn’t ready to let democracy flourish in Latin America.
Update: On March 24, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) said there had been "no basis" for the appeal by the right-wing ARENA party, which had alleged that some of the votes for the FMLN had been counted twice. TSE President Eugenio Chicas said Mr Sanchez Ceren and Oscar Ortiz would be handed their credentials as president-elect and vice president-elect later on Tuesday.