Monday, March 16, 2009

El Salvador presidential election

The big news is that the FMLN's Mauricio Funes won the presidential election yesterday, 51.3%-48.7% (that is 92% of precincts reporting). There will be plenty of speculation about whether he will govern more like Hugo Chávez or Lula, and how to define his "leftness."

Since Funes will have to forge legislative coalitions to get anything passed, it will be hard to enact very radical policies. The January 2009 legislative elections still left ARENA in a powerful position.

Given the fact that El Salvador depends heavily on immigrant remittances and even has a dollarized economy, U.S.-Salvadoran relations are critical. The Cold War right in the U.S. has been sounding the alarm about the FMLN, seeimingly permanently locked in the 1980s. However, there are two points that bode well in this regard. First, the Obama administration pledged neutrality. It is sad that such a pledge is necessary, but it is. Second, Obama just met with Lula and I have to believe this election came up at some point. Lula will be a good person for Obama to listen to.

For more analysis, see also Time's El Salvador Blog and Fruits and Votes.

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP