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September 10, 2008
El Salvador sets election dates amid criticism

Tim has been visiting El Salvador since 2001 and writes Tim’s El Salvador Blog.

Elections update

El Salvador’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE for its initials in Spanish), opened the 2009 election process this week. The TSE officially set the dates of January 18, 2009 for elections of mayors and deputies to the National Assembly, and March 15, 2009 for the presidential election. Candidates for president can register between now and January 13, 2009. The TSE announced there would be no reforms in El Salvador’s electoral system between now and the elections.

The TSE has been criticized by the FMLN for opening the election cycle without taking into account the outcome of the 2007 census. The FMLN believes the census will require reallocating deputies to the National Assembly with more deputies being allocated to the urban areas of San Salvador where the FMLN has greater strength.

Another criticism of the TSE has been a change to allow vote tally sheets to be submitted without a seal and signature from the local election officials. The FMLN introduced legislation to repeal this change in the election procedures, but the measure was defeated by the conservative coalition in the National Assembly led by ARENA. The elimination of these requirements has led observers to worry about the possibility of fraud in the upcoming elections.

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