Elections 2009

…And the Campaign Played On

Salvadoran law requires that campaigning for today’s Presidential Elections was to end four days ago. While the candidates themselves have not been out on the stump, their supporters have been out in force.

Voices’ staff report that ARENA caravans paraded through the streets of San Salvador for the past few days, waving their banners and blocking traffic. Alexandra Olson, writing for the Associated Press, reports that she witnessed ARENA caravans “roll[ing] through the streets of San Salvador Saturday night, honking and waving banners that read ‘don’t sell El Salvador.” The ARENA supporters were not the only ones out on the street. Voices staff saw at least one truck with FMLN supporters waving flags in the back.

In addition to the caravans, a community in San Salvador is filing a complaint that the ARENA party has set up kiosks in their neighborhoods, handing out propaganda, flags, and shirts.

In a meeting with delegates from the Organization of American States and the European Union, Mauricio Funes denounced these activities as campaigning and violations of Salvadoran law.

While civic participation is vital to El Salvador’s future development, so is the rule of law. What tone does it set for the country, when a presidential candidate is unwilling or unable to stop his supporters from violating the campaign laws?  How will he be able to keep his staff and administrative agencies in line? What other laws is the candidate and campaign willing to violate?


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