Posts Tagged ‘elections’

Delegate Spotlight: Darryl

March 3, 2015

Our blog series, Delegate Spotlight, feature past participants from SHARE’s major delegations. A delegate is someone who travels with a group (delegation) to El Salvador to learn about the history, politics, and people to better accompany the Salvadoran people. Interested in becoming a SHARE delegate? Check out our major delegation page for information on the upcoming Romero Delegation in March!  – See more at: http://www.share-elsalvador.org/delegations/major-delegations

Spotlight on: Darryl Moore from Berkeley, CA

Major Delegation Experience: The Election Observation Delegation, Jan. 2014 – Feb. 2014

Why did you decide to participate in SHARE’s major delegation?

I wanted to see participatory democracy in action.  I wanted to serve as an election observer to make sure the election in El Salvador was done as fairly as possible, at least in the places I observed. El Salvadore.3 Also, I wanted to visit the country that has ties to Berkeley and our former Mayor Gus Newport.  To see the beautiful country and meet the Salvadorans who in recent history had changed the lives of its citizens for greater equality and to see and witness their struggle for justice, economic grow, and liberty.

El Salvadore.6

What was the most memorable part of the trip?

Visiting the LGBT Center in San Salvador was one of the most memorable parts of my trip.  Meeting with the LGBT community and hearing their stories of inequality, persecution, discrimination, and violence directed at them for being who they are was deeply emotional for me as a gay man serving in the Berkeley City Council.  At the same time, I was encouraged by their spirit and commitment to make things better in their country for Lesbians, Gays and Transgendered Women and Men.  Many of them were on the front-lines fighting for equality, the right to vote, the right to health care, jobs, housing, and just to be treated fairly and like everyone else.  I was so touched by their fight for social justice that I came back to Berkeley and sponsored legislation calling on the Berkeley City Council to support the work of the LGBT Community in El Salvador in asking the government to recognize the LGBT Community in its constitution and to bring about Equality for all LGBT People living in El Salvador.  I worked very closely with SHARE in drafting the resolution that passed the Council unanimously.

What was your favorite part of the experience?

Meeting the people of El Salvador and hearing their stories was one of my favorite parts about my trip to El Salvador.  Hearing the sad stories from the Mothers who lost their husbands and sons during the revolution and getting no real help or restitution from the various governments broke my heart.  El Salvadore.2Hearing the stories of the Priests, Nuns, and Peaceful Volunteers that were brutalized and killed fighting for peace and the rights of the people was shocking and disturbing.  Watching folks line up early in the morning, hours before the polls would open, to vote in the Presidential Election was inspiring.  Watching teenagers helping the senior Salvadorians into the polling place and the seriousness and dedication everyone showed towards the voting process made me wish if only American’s took their right to vote as seriously.


Hope for the Environment: Elections 2015

February 19, 2015

Yesterday, February 19th, the Environmental Alliance, a coalition of anti-mining, food sovereignty, and water protection organizing bodies, invited legislative candidates across all parties to take part in a forum in front of civil citizens.  However, only Blandino Nerio (FMLN-National Liberation Front Farabundo Martí), Nery Diaz (FMLN), and Blaudilio Ventura (PSD-Social Democratic Party), all from the left side of the political spectrum, presented themselves.

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Candidates (L-R) Ventura, Nerio, and Diaz

Before the candidates promulgated their platforms, members of the Alliance gave an overview of the current environmental situation in El Salvador. Due to the country’s location, El Salvador is victim to numerous natural disasters such as volcanos, hurricanes, and earthquakes. However, global climate change augments all of these natural forces, which has been cause for much concern in recent years. This past year’s drought when the prices of beans increased 100%, calls attention directly to the severe environmental threats that El Salvador faces.

The Anti-Mining Coalition highlighted the current and proposed mining sites around the country. The business jeopardizes the remaining 10% of El Salvador’s treatable water source. The Water Coalition expressed their concern that the Salvadoran people do not have the right to access, however small, that portion of potable water.

All members of the Environmental Alliance demanded that the law to protect and prevent natural threats along with the constitutional reform of Article 69 which would guarantee the sovereignty of food and water be approved by the legislature. Both initiatives have spent years in congress and are running out of time before they expire.

When it came time for the candidates to respond with their platforms, it became obvious that all present were playing for the same team: the environment. Nerio, of the FMLN, cited all of the past actions that the FMLN took to protect the environment and to curb climatic changes. He said, “As you can all see, this isn’t a new issue for us to support. However, if there is no mobilization in the streets, we aren’t going to achieve anything.”

Diaz, also from the FMLN, has worked tirelessly as a member of the Legislative Assembly’s Environmental and Climate Change Commission. She promised to continue to dedicate her time in the legislature to fight for the protection of all of El Salvador’s natural resources.

Ventura (PSD) echoed this same message of being with the people in their struggle. He enthusiastically declared, “We are not in favor of the privatization of water or food. Water should be a public good. We are in favor of the people and the environment.” Ventura promised that not even one vote would be cast for the furthered degradation of the environment.

Although, a lack of diverse ideologies were present, the overwhelming enthusiasm that all panel members exhibited gave all those in the audience hope for real action surrounding the environment and climate change to come soon.

 


Learning to Embrace Flexibility

October 28, 2014

The following is a reflection from SHARE’s Communications Coordinator, Claire Moll, about her experience at the CCR’s 2014-2016 Executive Board elections.

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Active citizens of Chalatenango exercising their right to vote

Living and working in Central America these past few months has taught me to expect the unexpected. So far, Plan A has yet to happen, but rather we always seem to reach Plan F when all is said and done. Being from a culture that upholds over-organizing and planning, I have quickly been forced to loosen up and embrace flexibility. So far, it has really worked out for the best!

This past Saturday I put “embracing flexibility” into practice. Isabel, the SHARE El Salvador Office Director and I took a trip up to Chalatenango to show our support for the CCR’s new Executive Board elections.  SHARE accompanies the CCR, one of CRIPDES’ 6 regions, in sistering relationships and projects. They work with many of the historic sistering communities by sponsoring human development projects for women and youth.

When we entered the meeting space, I was surprised to see so many people in attendance. I recognized various faces from two of the communities that we accompany: Ignacio Ellacuria and Nueva Trinidad. As I listened to the program, Isabel pointed out the various mayors, governors, and legislators in attendance. I had no idea that so many dignitaries involved themselves in the work of the CCR. This sparked a strong sense of inspiration in me that grew throughout the rest of the event.

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Tell Your Congressperson to Take Action!

March 15, 2014

On March 13, 2013 at 1:45 a.m., the Salvadoran Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) held a press conference announcing the final election results. The FMLN won 50.11% of the vote with 1,495,815 votes and ARENA 49.89% with 1,489,451 votes (see the press release here). However, the TSE has yet to declare Salvador Sanchez Ceren the official president elect, as first they have to rule on legal requests ARENA submitted to nullify the elections, claiming that 20,000 FMLN poll workers voted twice.
 
Given the declarations by the Attorney General that there was no fraud in the elections, and the statements by the OAS, United Nations and many observation groups noting the transparency and efficiency of the elections, ARENA’s claims have no substance.

YOU can take action today to help ensure that the people’s vote is respected!

Call on your Congressperson and ask him/her to:

  • Make a public statement in support of the institutional authority of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal and for El Salvador’s legally-established electoral procedures to be respected.
  • Call on President Obama to congratulate the President-elect once the winner has been officially declared by the Electoral Tribunal.
  • Read More »

ARENA Continues to Seek to Nullify Vote Despite Statements from United Nations and OAS Noting Transparency of Elections

March 13, 2014

Last night a quarter after midnight the Salvadoran Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) finished its final vote count. At 1:45 a.m. they held a press conference announcing the results. The FMLN won 50.11% of the vote with 1,495,815 votes and ARENA 49.89% with 1,489,451 votes (see the press release here). However, the TSE has yet to declare Salvador Sanchez Ceren the official president elect, as first they have to rule on legal requests ARENA submitted to nullify the elections, claiming that 20,000 FMLN poll workers voted twice.
 
Given the declarations by the Attorney General that there was no fraud in the elections, and the statements by the OAS, United Nations and many observation groups noting the transparency and efficiency of the elections, the request will likely be rejected.
 
This morning, a couple hundred smiling members of various civil society organizations including FESPAD, the MPR-12, the Health Forum, and Pro-Busqueda gathered in front of the Salvador del Mundo Statue with signs stating “Respeto a la Democracia”/I respect Democracy. María Silvia Guillén, director of FESPAD, emphasized the transparency and legitimacy of the TSE, calling on all Salvadorans regardless of their political colors to respect the government’s institutions. 
 
Margarita Posada, coordinator of the National Health Forum read a press release titled “For Peace, Victory, and Dignity” noting that this is a transcendental moment in the history of El Salvador that has put to the test the government institutions and culture of peace and democracy, recognizing these elections as the most transparent yet, and congratulating the Salvadoran people for their participation in a peaceful elections, creating an environment of civic responsibility. Posada highlighted the work of the TSE to ensure the inclusion of the LGBT community and disabled persons.
 
Stay tuned to the SHARE blog and Facebook page for more updates.
 
 

TSE Announces Official Results of the Final Count


The following is a translation of a press statement issued by the Salvadoran Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE)

TSE

At 1:50am on March 13 the Salvadoran Supreme Electoral Tribunal announced the results of the second round of the 2014 presidential elections.

The president of the TSE, Eugenio Chicas, divulged the results to an audience that stayed through the end of the count, many of whom were journalists waiting in the disclosure room.

After the final count, the data approved by the collegial body with the unanimous support of the TSE is the following:

The Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) received 1,495,815 votes, representing 50.11% of the vote; the National Republican Alliance (ARENA) received 1,489,451 votes, representing 49.89% of the vote. The total number of valid votes was 2,985,266 with a difference of 6,364 between the two parties.

In their message they did not fail to acknowledge the enormous help of many international organizations, observer delegations, national organizations, the Electoral Supervisory Board, the Attorney General of the Republic, the Human Rights Ombudsman, the technicians, clerks, the press for their many hours of work, the contending political parties, the union of the TSE, the workers, and the collegial body, “We feel very satisfied with the work that has been accomplished, which has not been easy, there were distortions of information due to the way in which the data was entered.”

“There was much political tension, this means that there were some departments that did not work at the same rate. This, without doubt, caused the anxiety of the long process. Nevertheless, we are satisfied with the agreement between the preliminary and final count.”

In this electoral process the TSE highlights the quality, the transparency, the safety, speed, and certainty that was in the first and final scrutiny of the vote.


ARENA Seeks to Nullify Election Results

March 12, 2014

On Sunday, March 9, 2014 Salvadorans voted to elect their president for the next five years. While FMLN candidate Salvador Sanchez Ceren lead the preliminary vote count with a slim margin of 6,634 votes, El Salvador’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) has yet to declare an official winner.

The ARENA party has refused to accept that the FMLN has won the election, claiming the process has been marked by fraud. Yesterday at four in the afternoon, representatives of ARENA delivered a written statement to the TSE, announcing that ARENA would no longer participate in the final vote count process until the TSE ruled on their demand for a vote-by-vote recount. The TSE rejected ARENA´s petition because it violates the Salvadoran Electoral Code. According to Article 215 of the Salvadoran Electoral Code, the TSE may only do a vote-by-vote recount if the number of contested votes is greater than the margin of victory.  In these elections the number of contested votes (4,191) is less than the margin of victory (6,634), thus a vote-by-vote recount would be illegal.

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Supreme Electoral Tribunal to Announce Official Results this Tuesday

March 10, 2014

While the FMLN leads with 50.11% of the vote and 100% of Vote Receiving Boards (JRV) reporting, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) has yet to declare a winner due to the narrow margin of victory. 

Vote Receiving boards (JRV) count the votes.

Vote Receiving boards (JRV) count the votes.

Although neither party can officially claim victory until the TSE has finished reviewing ballots on Tuesday, both the FMLN and ARENA announced themselves the victor.

Sunday evening, ARENA candidate Norman Quijano declared himself the winner with only 49.89% of the vote. Quijano accused the TSE of corruption stating, “We are not going to allow fraud. We are 100% certain that we have won. We will fight, if necessary, with our lives.” Quijano continued to elude to military intervention saying, “the armed forces are ready to defend democracy.”

In his acceptance speech FMLN candidate, Salvador Sanchez Ceren, who received 6,634 more votes than Quijano, asked that the people’s right to vote is respected.

“The men and women of El Salvador are the ones who decide, and if you don’t accept the result, you are violating the will of the people,” Sanchez Ceren said. “I say to my adversary, to his party, that my administration will welcome them with open arms, so that together we can build a new country.”

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El Salvador Election monitoring: blog no. 2 – the Magic of Witnessing

March 7, 2014

The following reflection was written by Cathy Lester, a first round elections observer, and representative for Meta Peace Team.  Cathy lives in Grayling, Michigan.  She writes a blog for the Traverse City Record-Eagle website.  You can read some of her other posts here. 
 
Americans take our right to have elections somewhat for granted. This was brought home to me by the enthusiasm of the Salvadoreños. They were not only glad simply that they were allowed to have elections, they were extra-glad that, as I said in my previous blog, the electoral process has been reformed into something they could believe in.
 
The Election Monitors arrived at the voting center at 5:00 a.m., when it was supposed to open. By then, both the major parties already had tents up and were making lots of noise. 
 
Arena tent
I have to say the party of the Right had a lot more money to spend on tents, balloons, signs, drums, banners, food, etc. Their music had a triumphal, bouncy, we´ve-already-won air. I also noticed a certain racial divide: none of the right-wingers had “Indian” features, most of them had a middle-or-upper class air, and a lot of them were tall, fat and/or had big booming voices. (I think the “vigilantes” were chosen partly for that.)
 
The workers’ party had more country people, and more that looked Indian, and few that were fat. Or tall or overbearing. Their music was strong, serious, and determined – in a minor key but very upbeat.
 
The observers were surprised by the almost carnival-like atmosphere. I spoke to some Finns from a European group of Election Monitors, and they were saying, “In Finland, when we vote we´re so silent, it´s like going to church!” 
 
Outside the center, there was a constant stream of cars honking. Groups from the various parties were waving flags and chanting, singing, playing music. In addition, the sidewalks were crowded with vendors calling their wares: Mango-mango-mango! Election souvenirs, best prices! 

Second Round Elections Update: What do the polls say?

March 5, 2014

We are just four days away from the second round of presidential elections. And although the stakes are still high, spirits are higher because the chaos of elections season will finally be over, and a new President of the Republic will be chosen.  Unlike the first round’s 5-party contest, three of which that were stronger than others,  the FMLN and ARENA will be the only ones to face-off this upcoming Sunday.

Updated observer credentials for the second round of elections.

Updated observer credentials for the second round of elections.

Both Salvador Sanchez Ceren (FMLN) and Norman Quijano (ARENA) advanced their campaigns significantly in the last month. More party flags, colors, photos, and slogans scatter the country. Both candidates made appearances at various cultural and political events, until the official campaign closing last Sunday, exactly one week before Election Day. Neither party had a large turnout at the closing. Hopefully that is not an indication of what will happen in just a few short days. The polls thankfully say otherwise.

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