Written by Alexis Stoumbelis
For Upside Down World
Tuesday, 11 March 2014
Dancing to the festive sounds of cumbia and ska music, thousands of Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) supporters celebrated the expected victory of their candidate, Salvador Sánchez Cerén, as the vote counts poured in on election night. After waiting until the preliminary results had reached an “irreversible trend,” Sánchez Cerén took the stage to address the hopeful, exhausted crowd. Though he did not declare himself president, he celebrated that, “We won in the first round and we’ve returned to win in the second.” Sánchez Cerén, El Salvador’s Vice-President and former Minister of Education, is the first union leader and first to commander of one guerrilla forces that joined forces to become the FMLN to be elected president of El Salvador.
But his was not the only victory rally to take place on Sunday night. Across town, Norman Quijano, the mayor of San Salvador and candidate for the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) party, was exhorting supporters to defend his victory. Quijano declared his refusal to respect the decision of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), whose preliminary results gave a narrow but decisive margin of victory to the FMLN. With 99.9% of voting tables counted, the FMLN led right-wing opponents by a 50.11 to 49.89%.
Quijano incited the crowd not to “allow this victory to be stolen from us like it was in Venezuela.” He declared that ARENA was “prepared for war” and called on the international community and the Salvadoran armed forced to “defend the country’s democracy” in the face of the supposed fraud carried out against them.