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El Salvador

Yearbook 2018

El Salvador. According to Countryaah.com, the ruling party FMLN (Front Farabundo Martí for National Liberation) suffered its biggest electoral defeat in the congressional and municipal elections held on March 4. After a delayed vote count, it was clear that the party lost eight of its 31 seats in Congress, while the largest opposition party Arena (Republican National Alliance) increased its mandate by three to 37. Two other right-wing parties won the remaining mandate, which meant the united opposition in Congress can mobilize both simple and qualified majority, which is required, for example, to vote down a presidential vote and force ministers away.

2018 El Salvador

In the municipal elections held at the same time, things did not go much better for the FMLN. Among other things, they lost the mayor's post in the capital, San Salvador, and otherwise won only in two of the country's 14 provincial capitals, while Arena took home 136 of 262 smaller municipalities. One of the Arena's re-elected mayors, Lucio Ayala, was arrested by police shortly after the election, accused of conspiring with a criminal league on the border with Honduras.

All in all, the election result posed significant problems for President Salvador Sánchez Cerén. But even for Arena, things went worse than expected; turnout was the lowest in twelve years, only 46%, which was interpreted as many refraining from voting in protest against both leading parties. In addition, Arena suffered a severe loss of prestige when the former president (2004-09) and Arena member Antonio Saca in early August became the first president to be sentenced to prison for corruption. In an effort to mitigate the verdict, he admitted to the court money laundering and embezzlement of the equivalent of $ 301 million during his term. Maurício Funes of FMLN, President 2009-14, has also been convicted of corruption but lives in political asylum in Nicaragua and appealed in January a court order from November 2017.

On March 7, Pope Francis announced that a process of surrendering to Óscar Romero would begin, and on October 14 came the formal saint's declaration. Romero was the Archbishop of San Salvador and was murdered during the Civil War in El Salvador in 1980 by a death squadron in the midst of a church service. He embraced liberation theology and became known for his defense of the poor, which made him controversial both in his home country and in the Vatican. A legal process to determine those responsible for the murder has been ongoing since May 2017.

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