National Lawyers Guild Observers Find Salvadoran Elections to be Free and Fair
Contact: Judy Somberg, firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-497-5364
For interviews in Spanish: William Leavitt, WilliamLeavitt@hotmail.com, 212-897-5852
A group of five members of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) traveled to El Salvador as trained and accredited election observers to monitor the first round of the 2014 Presidential elections and to investigate the social and political context in which the elections took place. NLG delegates were impressed by how the electoral process was organized and by the widespread participation of the Salvadoran people. The delegates found that the recent electoral reforms supported by President Mauricio Funes, including the creation of residential voting centers and revisions to the electoral registry, facilitated a free and fair process that resulted in a transparent elections process.
Two NLG delegates who had also served as electoral observers in the November 2013 Honduras elections noted that unlike the elections there that were fraught with electoral irregularities, the elections in El Salvador were held without violence or intimidation. Attorney Judy Somberg, Chair of the NLG Task Force on the Americas, said: “The differences between the elections in Honduras and El Salvador are stark. In El Salvador people are no longer afraid to vote for the candidate of their choice.”
The NLG hopes that the United States will continue to actively affirm neutrality in elections as stated in a U.S. Embassy press release dated February 3, 2014, particularly given the history of U.S. interference in El Salvador.
FMLN candidate Salvador Sánchez Cerén received slightly less than 50% of the vote and the ARENA candidate, Norman Quijano, came in second with approximately 39% of the vote, necessitating a run-off election which will take place on March 9, 2014.