Campaign Updates Part 1: Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front party
This is the 1st blog entry in a 4-part series of campaign updates on the five tickets running in the February 2, 2014, presidential elections in El Salvador. Election Day is still eight and a half months away, and the four-month campaign period when candidates can officially ask the population to vote for them doesn’t begin until September 24th. But the five different parties that have announced they will participate in the 2014 elections are already reaching out to the population through appearances in communities, popular consultation processes to develop their campaign platforms and with TV, radio and newspaper appearances.
Part 1: Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) party
On Saturday, July 6, the leftist FMLN party officially finalized its consultations to create the “government plan” that their presidential candidate, current Vice-president Salvador Sánchez Cerén, and vice-presidential candidate, Santa Tecla Mayor Oscar Ortiz, will implement if elected. Final proposals from the consultation process, known as the National Dialogue for the El Salvador We Want, were presented to the candidates on Saturday, and the resulting platform proposal will be presented for ratification at the FMLN’s annual convention on August 18.
In addition to online mechanisms that allowed anyone to submit proposals for the FMLN’s government plan, thematic work groups, door-to-door visits and community assemblies also generated many proposals. Thematic work groups also served as an opportunity to build alliances between different social movement sectors and the FMLN ticket. A Gender Policy work group incorporated feminist, GLBT and sex workers organizations’ proposals into the process, an Environmental work group brought in climate justice groups’ suggestions, a Labor Policy work group involved unions and organized workers, youth organizations generated proposals as part of the Youth work group, local artists provided input in the Culture Policy work group.
The candidates also consulted with Salvadorans living outside of the country, visiting countries such as the United States, Canada, Mexico, Belize, Sweden, and Australia that have large Salvadoran populations to incorporate their proposals. In mid June, Sánchez Cerén visited Washington DC where hundreds of Salvadorans participated in National Dialog consultations and other activities. During his visit, he also met with local elected officials from Washington DC and surrounding cities, Congress’ Hispanic caucus and other congressional representatives, the US State Department, Salvadoran business leaders and religious leaders that serve Salvadoran communities in the area.
The FMLN also launched a campaign, timed with the close of President Mauricio Funes’ 4th year in office, to publicize the many positive programs and policies that the Funes administration and their legislative group have begun. Billboards, television and radio ads pay tribute to the free uniforms, shoes and school supplies the government now provides to all public school students, the Medicine Law that has lowered the cost of medicines and the network of Ciudad Mujer (“Women’s City”) comprehensive service centers that provide job training, healthcare, legal advice and crisis counseling to women free of charge. An FMLN rally celebrating the four years of advances filled the recently constructed Monsignor Romero Boulevard with over 150,000 people.