CISPES Denounces Violence Ahead of Salvadoran Elections, Calls on Supreme Electoral Tribunal to Take
Statement of the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES)
March 10, 2006
Recent acts of violence leading up to the March 12 municipal and legislative elections have raised concern about the possibility of more hostilities and disturbances before and on Election Day. With the races for important municipal seats up for grabs, as well as all 84 legislative deputies, these elections will play an important role in deciding the fate of El Salvador’s economic and social development. The two leading parties – the ruling right-wing ARENA government and the leftist FMLN – are running close in the polls and propose distinct platforms for El Salvador. With ARENA concerned that the FMLN may win the most important mayoral seats in San Salvador and the surrounding municipalities, while gaining ground in the Assembly, tensions are high. In fact, dozens of party activists have been shot or injured in recent week, and roving ARENA campaign brigades have been observed attacking activists of other parties.
CISPES denounces these recent acts of violence and demands that the head of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), Walter Araujo, take action to curb the violence. Mr. Araujo finally commented on the violence on March 9; however, CISPES believes that action should have been taken months ago when the violence began, and the slow response of the TSE has allowed the situation to reach a crucial level. Such acts of violence have also brought increased insecurity within the Salvadoran population, and amplified the need for international elections observers to be present on Election Day.
Therefore, we call on Mr. Araujo, the TSE, and the Salvadoran government to properly monitor the elections, guaranteeing the safety of voters and international observers on March 12. In addition, the TSE and the National Civilian Police should investigate the cases of violence that have already occurred and work to prevent further confrontations. Finally, the TSE must also address accusations of inconsistencies and possible fraud leading up to the elections, as well as denunciations of the role played by President Antonio Saca in openly campaigning for ARENA candidates.
Committee In Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES)
New York, NY
March 10, 2006