Parliamentary Chamber: Asamblea legislativa


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  Asamblea legislativa

Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  20 March 1994

Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in Parliament on the normal expiry of the members’ term of office.

Background and outcome of elections:

  The elections to the Legislative Assembly, held on 20 March 1994, took place within the framework of the Peace Agreements signed by the Government of El Salvador and the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN). These Agreements made it possible to set up the United Nations Observer Mission in El Salvador (ONUSAL), responsible for verifying their application.

Thus, these elections were the first in which all movements within the country participated, particularly the leftward-leaning FMLN. They mark a fundamental stage in the peace process which has put end to 12 years of political and military conflicts that claimed some 75,000 lives, displaced 500,000 persons inside the country and caused nearly one million citizens to flee the country.

The voting was preceded by a study designed to draw up an “inventory” of the Electoral Roll and determine what share of the population held voter cards. This study revealed that there were some 750,000 persons of voting age (18) as at June 1993 whose names did not appear on the Roll.

The ensuing voter registration process relied in particular on the support of the ONUSAL Electoral Division, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and various non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The registration process ended when the Electoral Roll was closed on 19 January 1994. At that time, the number of registered voters represented 95% of the voting age population, but only 85% actually received voter cards.

Parliamentary elections were held concurrently with elections for the President and Vice-President of the Republic, Deputies to the Central American Parliament and member of municipal council. The seven candidates running for President represented the nine parties or coalitions vying for seats on the Legislative Assembly, in particular the party in power, the National Republican Alliance (ARENA), the Christian Democratic Party (PDC), Democratic Convergence (CD), the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), the National Conciliation Party (PCN), the Authentic Christian Movement (MAC), the Nationalist Democratic Union (UDN), the National Revolutionary Movement (MNR) and the Unity Movement (MU). Three of these parties were not represented in the outgoing National Assembly: the FMLN, the National Solidarity Movement (MSN) and the MU.

The electoral process was marked, in the months prior to the polling, by a number of violent incidents, or even crimes of a political nature; the survey carried out in this connection was entrusted to a mixed group at the initiative of the United Nations. Apart from these facts and a few facts of intimidation, the origin and reasons for which are extremely difficult to determine in view of the high rate of crime and ordinary delinquency in El Salvador, the electoral campaign proceeded smoothly on the whole.

Some 1,5000,000 persons voted, i.e. 400,000 more than in the 1991 and 1988 elections. This figure, which represents only 55% of the 2,722,000 persons on the Electoral Roll, is lower than the expected rate of participation. This is due to various reasons, but above all the complexity of the method of registration on the Electoral Roll, which required citizens to invest a considerable amount of time to obtain a voter card, and the limited number of polling centres, which meant that voters sometimes had to travel considerable distances in order to be able to vote. Thus, many citizens who had obtained a voter card were unable to vote because their name was not on the electoral Roll. ONUSAL estimates that over 25,000 voters (2% of the electorate) were thus affected and regretted that, despite the strenuous efforts made by itself, donor countries and non-governmental organisations to register voters, the Central Board of Elections failed to produce a more adequate Electoral Roll.

ONUSAL deployed some 900 observers from 56 nations to cover the different polling centres, and the elections took place in complete calm, without serious incidents. The elections were won by the outgoing right-wing government party, ARENA.

The newly elected Legislative Assembly held its inaugural sitting on 1 May 1994. The second round of voting needed to elect the President of the Republic was marked by the confrontation between Mr. Armando Calderón Sol (ARENA) and Mr. Rubén Zamora (CD), backed by the FMLN and the MNR. It took place on 24 April, and Mr. Calderón Sol was elected with 68.35% of the votes; he was sworn into office on 1 June along with his new 12-member Cabinet.

Round no 1 (20 March 1994): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 2,722,000 (approx.)
Voters 1,500,000 (approx.)

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total Gain/Loss
National Republican Alliance (ARENA) 39 =
Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) 21 +21
Christian Democratic Party (PDC) 18 -8
National Conciliation Party (PCN) 4 -5
Democratic Convergence (CD) 1 -7
Unity Movement (MU) 1 +1

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 75
Women: 9

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