FMLN Wins Important Victories Despite Lack of Transparency in March 12 Legislative and Municipal Ele

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El Salvador's final election results demonstrate both important victories and some setbacks for the FMLN. Violeta Menjivar - the FMLN candidate for mayor of San Salvador - was finally declared the winner last Thursday morning in a closely contested race. ARENA deliberately delayed accepting Violeta's victory, and did so only after FMLN supporters occupied the Plaza Civica for days and marched to TSE headquarters to denounce the fraud.

More than half of the Salvadoran population lives in the fifty nine municipal councils that were won by the FMLN. On the downside, the FMLN lost some department capitals like Santa Ana, Usulutan, and La Paz. ARENA won 147 of 262 municipalities.

However - on the legislative front - the FMLN obtained the highest number of votes for deputies, and will have 32 in the upcoming legislature. Despite having less actual votes than the FMLN, ARENA won 34 deputies because of the residual vote system. The PCN, PDC, and CD won 10, 6 and 2 seats respectively. This means the right will have simple majority (43) in the upcoming legislative assembly. Nevertheless, ARENA was unable to stump the FMLN's growth in the legislature and will be forced to negotiate on laws requiring qualified majority vote (53).

The elections held on March 12 were marked by serious accusations of fraud, violations to the rule of law, lack of transparency, violence and domination by the right more than any other elections since the 1992 Peace Accords. The municipal and legislative elections are critical in that they set precedent for the 2009 municipal, legislative and presidential elections and will, in the course of the next 3 years, factor into the further consolidation of the neoliberal economic model or the support for resistance and building of alternatives. The CISPES 2006 Election Observer delegation accompanied the Salvadoran people and will be submitting a full report shortly.

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