Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Salvador's leftists try for first presidential win.

This is from antiwar.com.

Leftists seem to be gaining back ground in Central America. The same shift is evident in Nicaragua where the Sandinistas are back in power with their own president back as well.

Salvador's leftists try for first presidential win
Election in El Salvador may move leftist party toward first presidential win
Jan 18, 2009 15:04 EST
El Salvador's former guerrillas are poised to take over the country, 17 years after peace accords ended the country's bloody civil war.

But this revolution is a democratic one, led by a charismatic television journalist named Mauricio Funes who has brought new hope to the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, a guerrilla group turned political party.
Polls ahead of Sunday's six-party election indicate the Front, known as the FMLN, will increase its 32-seat delegation in the 84-member legislature while keeping the capital and winning most of the 262 mayors' races.
Sunday's key contest pits former guerrilla Violeta Menjivar against physician Norman Quijano of the conservative, governing Arena party in the capital, where voters wearing party colors began lining up well before polls opened.
The true test will come on March 15, when Funes is favored to become the first FMLN president since El Salvador's 1992 peace accords ended a civil war that killed 75,000 people. Most polls give him a lead of at least nine points over his opponent, ruling party candidate Rodrigo Avila.
Sunday's vote "could be a preamble of what could happen in the presidential vote. Arena and the right are worried because Mauricio has everything he needs to win," said analyst Dagoberto Gutierrez of the Lutheran University.
The FMLN has struggled to win over Salvadorans politically in the past 17 years. The party won just two seats fewer than Arena did in the last legislative elections and it has governed the capital for 12 years, but it has never completely overcome its rebel image — partly because its hard-left faction pushed aside party moderates when choosing candidates in past presidential elections.
Arena, which has controlled the presidency since 1989, has flooded radio and television with ads trying to discredit Funes and the FMLN as radicals. But Gutierrez said Salvadorans seem tired of the old tactics.
"There is a generalized discontent. Twenty years of government has worn out Arena and the campaigns of fear — saying the communists are coming — are not working," he said.
High gas prices and soaring food costs took a toll on President Tony Saca's approval ratings, and soured voters on Arena.
Industrial engineer Mauricio Valdiviezo, who was just 14 years old when the war ended, arrived at the polls wearing a "Cuba" t-shirt and an FMLN cap.
"We Salvadorans are getting rid of the fear," he said.

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