The following information is a compilation of Salvadoran news reports and observations from our allied organizations:
Yesterday, Tuesday March 11th, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal began a process of revising the 21 forms that could not be counted in the Tribunal’s preliminary results, which showed the FMLN ahead of ARENA by 6, 634 votes (50.11% vs. 49.89%).
As of our last update on Monday March 11th, the right-wing party, the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) has called for a vote-by-vote recount (unauthorized by the electoral code because the impugned votes do not number more than the vote gap between the two parties), alleged fraud, and has mobilized demonstrations throughout the country demanding that the results, which have not yet been officially confirmed, be annulled. The manifestations are blocking important streets and highways throughout the country. There are even reports that ARENA is paying demonstrators upwards of $20 each to show up. Yesterday afternoon, TSE representatives that are members of ARENA walked out of the final scrutiny, halting the process for the day. After Eugenio Chicas, the TSE President, denounced the inflammatory actions and called for the Organization of American States and the Human Rights Attorney General to oversee the process, the TSE resumed the final scrutiny this morning.
In promising international solidarity news, the US Embassy has remained silent after their initial press release on Monday asking for calm as we wait for the official results to be announced, in accordance with their previous neutrality statements, although the State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki reiterated that message yesterday from Washington. In addition, four press releases appeared today in the mainstream newspaper La Prensa Grafica, 2 by social movement organizations, one by the OAS observer delegation, and one by the UN, all congratulating the Salvadoran people for the high voter turnout and the exceptional transparency of the electoral process, and calling for patience in all political and social spheres as the official results are tabulated. In addition to these press releases, various other observer missions have held press conferences since Monday expressing the same confidence in the transparency of the electoral process.
It is worrisome that after ARENA’s candidate, Norman Quijano, declared himself president on Sunday night and used incendiary language in his allegations of fraud, Walter Arajuo, a TSE magistrate, has received death threats. Arajuo was formerly a member of ARENA and left the party in September 2013. The right’s behavior since Sunday night is especially worrying because the campaign’s main strategist is Venezuelan Miami-based JJ Rendon, who is famous throughout Latin America for his rumor and fear based campaigns. The current demonstrations by the right wing denouncing the TSE and the election results are eerily similar to the recent protests in Venezuela, and we can only hope that the Salvadoran people will resist the right wing’s irresponsible calls for violence. In response, the Salvadoran social movement has planned a massive demonstration tomorrow morning to defend the electoral process. Sister Cities staff is staying up to date with the social movement in order to lend our support and solidarity.
The TSE is expected to announce the official results tomorrow, Thursday March 13th, or Friday March 14th.
For continued up to date coverage:
To read the UN’s press release in today’s La Prensa Grafica:
Related News from the Update: