El Salvador 2014
El Salvador. On March 16, the electoral authority declared left-wing candidate Salvador Sánchez Cerén of the ruling Liberal Front Farabundo Martí for National Liberation (FMLN) as victor in the second round of the presidential election a week earlier. Sánchez Cerén was extremely close to winning already in the first round on February 2, when he got 48.9% of the vote.
According to Countryaah.com, El Salvador population in 2020 is estimated at 6,486,216. The election results in March were pretty much in line with what polls had hitherto indicated, but it took a whole week before it was published as the opposition party Republican National Alliance (Arena) filed no fewer than six protests against electoral fraud and other irregularities that affected their candidate Norman Quijano. All were rejected by the electoral authority. Arena, in turn, accused the electoral authority of being biased and promised continued political struggle, including against Sánchez Cerén’s planned tax reform, which aims to reduce the economic and social gaps in society and, if successful, would provide expanded support to the FMLN. At the same time, Sánchez Cerén highlighted the need for stimulating economic growth, which would mean more room for the private sector.
However, the credibility of the arena in its complaints about the electoral process was rather low as the party had its own election observers at all the country’s polling stations and foreign observers praised the election as the most effective and cleanest in the country’s history. In addition, Francisco Flores, president of Arena in 1999-2004, became the first president to serve a prison sentence for corruption, which did not improve the public’s image of the party. He was arrested in September after missing most of the year when he was subjected to scrutiny by a special congressional commission and called for by Interpol.
Sánchez Cerén himself reached out and offered Arena cooperation for El Salvador’s best in their victory on March 15 in the capital, San Salvador. However, attempts to establish a collaboration with Arena were significantly hampered after one of the party’s congressmen was put before a judicial process in July. Sánchez Cerén took office on June 1.
Social violence reached new dismal record levels during the year. Already in August, the number of murders in the country amounted to 2,533, which corresponded to eleven murders per day and exceeded the figure for the whole of 2013. The spiral of violence was so extensive that even the two leading competing criminal gangs, Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) and Mara-18 (M18), themselves announced a ceasefire August 24. The previous ceasefire in 2012 led to a sudden halving of the number of murders. A former congressman and one of the country’s bishops presented a proposal to President Sánchez Cerén on a pacification process. At the same time, information came out that criminal gangs had begun to infiltrate both the military and the police force.
Between El Salvador and neighboring Honduras, a diplomatic dispute took place over the small island of Isla Conejo in the Gulf of Fonseca. Honduras has begun construction of a helicopter airport on the island, which El Salvador also claims and whose nationality is not considered to have been established.