Santa Tecla mayor, Oscar Ortíz, will be Sánchez Cerén’s running mate

News

Monday afternoon, the Vice-President of El Salvador and candidate for the presidency in 2014 for the leftist Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) party, Salvador Sánchez Cerén, announced on his twitter account that “upon deep reflection, I propose Oscar Ortíz as Vice-Presidential candidate to the national leadership and membership of the FMLN.” The candidates must still be ratified by hundreds of municipal and departmental delegates that will represent the party’s membership at the FMLN’s National Convention on November 11.

Last week, the Political Commission of the FMLN made public a list of five names they were considering for the Vice-Presidential nomination, including Ortíz, the popular mayor of Santa Tecla; the Minister of Foreign Relations, Hugo Martinez; the head of the FMLN legislative group, Norma Guevara; the Vice-Minister of Health, Violeta Menjívar; and Minister of Public Works, Gerson Martínez. Medardo González, the Secretary General of the party, said the opinion of the presidential candidate Sánchez Cerén would also be a major factor.

In a show of the Political commission’s support for the proposal, the official twitter account of the FMLN immediately republished Sánchez Cerén’s announcement. Once made official, Ortiz is almost sure to accept the nomination; when journalists asked him whether he would accept a Vice-Presidential nomination last week, the Santa Tecla Mayor responded affirmatively.

Before Sánchez Cerén’s presidential nomination was announced, Ortíz was one of the other names being considered within the party. In 2003, Ortíz had also run in party primaries for the 2004 presidential nomination, coming in second to historic FMLN leader Shafick Handal. At the time, Ortíz led a reformist movement within the party that proposed the FMLN reach out to El Salvador's big business sector, and he continues to represent the more moderate branches of FMLN supporters.

Sánchez Cerén represents the traditional Marxist tendency that currently steers the party’s Political Commission, made up of leaders elected by the FMLN’s membership. The Sánchez Cerén-Ortiz ticket is an effort to unite the more moderate branches of the party with its traditional base in the electoral battle to maintain the executive office in 2014.

With the other main presidential candidate for the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) party, San Salvador mayor Norman Quijano, running on a platform to end the social programs begun by the FMLN-Funes administration, much is at stake for El Salvador’s poor majority in the 2014 election.

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