Why Haven't the Media Broadly Covered the Elections in El Salvador?

By Scott Morgan

What does one think about when the topic of El Salvador is raised? Most people think of the actions of MS-13 (the notorious gang) that is terrorizing several American cities with relative disdain for the rule of law.

In the eyes of analysts, that are concerned with Central America, most pay attention to what is taking place in Guatemala and Honduras; yet El Salvador appears to be an afterthought. This comes to light when we think of the efforts to improve the Economic Climate to reduce the Crime Rate in their capital cities and reduce the flow of illegal immigration northwards - towards the United States.

Earlier this month, El Salvador went to the polls for municipal and national legislative elections. The ruling FMLN (Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front ) which transitioned from an Insurgent Group in the 1980s against the ARENA (Nationalist Republican Alliance backed by the then Reagan Administration) was expecting a positive outcome as a prelude to the 2019 Presidential Elections.

The results of this poll were not good for the ruling FMLN. First of all, turnout amongst supporters of all political parties was reported to be low. This is generally expected in Non-National Polls (ex: Presidential Elections) when there is generally less of a sense of urgency to turn out to cast ballots.

What signal does this send for the Presidential Elections? It appears that there is a growing sense of distrust towards the ruling FMLN. Although the recent results can be spun as more of a loss of faith in the FMLN then a rise in the support of ARENA they cannot be ignored.

ARENA now has 37 out of 84 Seats in the Legislature. The FMLN will drop from 29 to 23 seats. Together with two smaller parties - the GANA and PCN - the Right does have the capacity to override any Presidential Veto. They also have the ability to select a new Attorney General, Several Magistrates for the Constitutional Court and other actors.

The economic issues that plague the nation will have to be addressed. The violence within the country that has led to some emigration to the north has to be taken into account as well. It appears that the winds of change could be blowing in El Salvador too.

Honduras has gotten some coverage for moving their Israeli Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem; however, there has been virtually no coverage of these elections.

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