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El Salvador

Yearbook 2009

El Salvador. The March 15 presidential election was historic. It was not only the fact that the right-wing party Alianza Republicana Nacionalista (ARENA), after two decades of dominance of Salvadoran politics, was voted out that made the election special. Historically, the winner of the election was Mauricio Funes, a candidate for the left-wing party Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN), formerly a guerrilla group that fought against the government in the 1980s. Admittedly, the profit margin was the lowest possible - 51 percent against 49 - but for the first time ever, a left-wing party won the presidential power in El Salvador, which also joins the left-wing wave that has crossed the region in recent years.

2009 El Salvador

According to countryaah, Funes was installed in the presidential office on June 1. His government program focused on combating poverty, increasing crime and increasing political polarization in the country. The following month, he was supported by no less than 86 percent of those polled in an opinion poll. There are fears, however, that the FMLN in office may undergo a split, especially as Funes, to win sympathies among various electoral groups, was forced to renounce a classy leftist rhetoric during the election campaign.

At the congress, Fune's government capacity is at the forefront. Since the congressional elections, which were held in January, although the FMLN is the largest party with 35 out of 84 seats, it has no majority of its own. The right can thus oppose Funes, although the loser in the presidential election Rodrigo Ávila promised a "constructive opposition". In October, however, twelve of ARENA's congressmen jumped off, weakening the opposition's position. Furthermore, most of the FMLN congressmen constitute the hard-core old core of guerrilla warriors, whose influence in the party Funes wanted to dampen.

In the local elections, which were held at the same time as the congressional elections in January, the FMLN won big and doubled the number of mayoral positions but lost the most important - the capital of San Salvador, which the party dominated for 12 years. The first tug-of-war between the right-wing opposition and Funes, which involved appointments to the Supreme Court, was decided in mid-July through a political compromise that the government largely opposed. Only two of the five judges could be appointed by the FMLN.

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