Historic Change:The FMLN Assumes the Presidency of the Legislative Assembly
On February 1, 2011, FMLN Deputy Sigfrido Reyes, became the President of the Legislative Assembly. This is the first time that the Presidency of the Assembly has been held by the FMLN; manipulation by an alliance of the right-wing parties has prevented the FMLN from assuming its rightful leadership since 2003, when the FMLN first surpassed ARENA to win the largest percentage of votes.
Reyes dedicated his opening ceremony to “the great leader sof the emancipation of the Salvadoran people ... and all the compatriots that have dedicated their lives to the cause of democracy and social progress in El Salvador,” naming Monseñor Romero and Anastasio Aquino, leader of the 1832 indigenous uprising, among them.
The President of the Legislative Assembly has a major influence on the agenda and priorities of the Assembly, including which lawsare discussed and voted on. The highest priorities for the FMLN in the Legislative Assembly for 2011-2012 include laws to:
1) Regulate and reduce the price of medications. (El Salvadorcurrently buys and sells medicine at the highest prices in the world, accordingto a 2008 study.)
2) Prioritize the common good and environmental sustainabilityin a national and local land development plan
3) Protect migrants and their families (see article)
4) Prohibit metallic mining and respond to climate change
5) Recognize the rights of Youth
6) Reduce violence in partnership with the municipalities.
The FMLN also plans to support policies to generateemployment and to strengthen the electoral system, especially with regards totransparency and citizen participation. Other commitments of the Assembly’sfirst FMLN president are to create spaces for dialogue and collaboration and togenerate more confidence in the legislature itself. The members of the FMLN arealso celebrating “the end of an era” of favoritism and of an Assemblymanipulated by the President, as it was for many years under ARENA. Reyescalled for “wisdom to guide my steps in only one direction: to serve the peopleand my country with loyalty and truth, and to seek, from this house, which isthe House of the People, the unity that our country needs to overcome anychallenge and move forward.”