EspañolEl Salvador’s two main political parties have finished their primaries and selected their 2018 candidates for both mayoral and congressional seats — but not without controversy. Republican National Alliance (ARENA) and the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) were each criticized for their selection processes, which many claimed was highly secretive and lacking in suitable candidates.
FMLN: Winners without competition
FMLN’s process involved putting up uncontested candidates, and with little transparency. For example, El Salvador’s congress has 84 seats so it only ratified 84 candidates, which the party (not the people) knew about far in advance.
“People will choose the political project that suits them. If they do not vote for ours, then they happily vote for another,” said Lorena Peña, congresswoman from the FMLN. “The people can also create more parties if they want.”
Sigfrido Reyes, former President of the Legislative Assembly and current President of the Export and Investment Promotion Agency of El Salvador (PROESA), explained that, though FMLN only had 84 candidates, they were each suitable for the position.
“There is no possibility that someone without the credentials will become a candidate,” he said. “The one we selected meets five-year membership requirements.”
El Salvador’s media was not allowed to enter the facilities where the internal elections were held.
One of their candidates, José Luis Merino has been singled out by a group of US congressmen for alleged connections to drug trafficking and money laundering rings.
There were no surprises last Sunday when presenting the official results of ARENA’s internal elections: The candidate for congressman with the most votes was former Mayor of San Salvador, Norman Quijano.
Meanwhile, Ernesto Muyshondt, mayoral candidate for the capital, thanked his voters via Twitter.
“Thanks to the ARENA voters of the municipality of San Salvador for ratifying our candidacy for mayor of San Salvador, with more than 92-percent of the vote.”
Other candidates include MPs Margarita Escobar, René Portillo Cuadra, Patricia Valdivieso, Martha Evelyn Batres, Alejandrina Castro and David Reyes. Among the new candidates are Milena Mayorga, a former model and television presenter.