The Guardian April 5, 2000


El Savador:
FMLN's election success

The Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) became the largest 
party in El Salvador's National Assembly, and hence the country's dominant 
political force, in elections on March 12. With over 30 seats, the FMLN 
easily outperformed the former ruling party, the right-wing pro-business 
National Republican Alliance (ARENA).

The FMLN also doubled its number of mayoral posts, including retaining the 
key position of mayor of the capital, San Salvador. The San Salvador 
contest, widely seen as a stepping stone to the Presidency, was 
resoundingly won by the incumbent, the FMLN's Dr Hector Silva.

Dr Silva's first post-election comments centred on improving the living 
standards of the people.

The FMLN fought a 12-year liberation war against a corrupt US-backed 
dictatorship that was kept in place by US arms and right-wing death squads. 
In 1992, after the overthrow of socialism in the Soviet Union, the FMLN 
accepted a UN-brokered peace deal.

The subsequent UN-supervised elections however gave the advantage to the 
parties with the most money and the control of the media.

ARENA, despite its links to the former death squads, won the elections and 
has pursued a neo-liberal (economic rationalist) policy that has increased 
poverty enormously.

ARENA campaigned on a "get tough on crime" platform, while the FMLN 
proposed new social programs aimed at alleviating poverty, and hence 
reducing crime.

Back to index page