SAN SALVADOR – El Salvador is holding elections on Sunday to select 84 members of the Legislative Assembly and 262 mayors.
The election pits the leftist governing Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) against the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) plus eight other minority parties.
The Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) opened the process with a national television and radio broadcast from the International Fairs and Conventions Center (CIFCO), one of the country’s main voting centers and where the TSE’s computing system is installed.
TSE chief Julio Olivo called for Salvadorans to go out and vote with “freedom and confidence,” adding that a clean election is guaranteed.
A total of 5.1 million citizens are eligible to cast ballots, 274,370 more than in the 2015 race, when the controversial cross-voting method was introduced for the first time.
The method caused a number of problems for voters, who complained that they had not been informed of the change beforehand.
Starting before 6:00 am, voters – along with politicians, militants, precinct officials and national and international observers – began lining up outside voting centers.
More than 23,000 police officers and 14,000 army troops will guarantee the safety of voters coming to 1,595 precincts throughout the country’s 14 provinces.
Polls will close at 5:00 pm, when the vote count will get under way.
The TSE has taken measures to ensure that the vote count will be “controlled,” after the assorted delays encountered in the 2015 balloting due to the complexity of cross-voting.
Salvadorans elect representatives and mayors every three years and presidents every five.