Salvadoran voters punish the FMLN

Salvadorans went to the polls on Sunday and delivered a brutal message to the incumbent FMLN. Preliminary results from the TSE indicate that ARENA won 52 percent of the national vote to the FMLN's 34 percent. The FMLN also lost most of the country's department capitals, including the capital of San Salvador. and as of right now it looks like the next legislature will consist of
  • 37 ARENA deputies, 
  • 23 FMLN deputies, 
  • 11 Gana deputies, 
  • 8 PCN deputies, 
  • 3 PDC deputies, 
  • 1 CD deputy, and 
  • 1 candidate without a party. 
The results have somewhat changed from initial reports and could change again since a small number of seats are still contested. Either way, the FMLN suffered a stunning rebuke at the polls leading El Faro to write El FMLN sufre la peor derrota de su historia democrática

ARENA is well-positioned for the 2018-2021 legislative period, including upcoming decisions regarding the next attorney general, human rights ombudsperson, and judges of the general accounting office and supreme court. A lot can happen between this election and next year's presidential election, but ARENA must be happy. 

The FMLN, on the other hand, will need to find a way forward. There was great hope for their alliance with Mauricio Funes and, while they did win two consecutive presidential contests, it is difficult to celebrate their nine years in the presidency. As they continue to debate the viability of Gerson Martinez and Oscar Ortiz candidacies in 2019, they need to remember that the problems run deeper than the top of the ticket.