El Salvador opposition warns it will not validate congressional election results

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By LatAm Reports Editorial Team

Leaders of the opposition party Alianza Republicana Nacionalista (Arena) reiterated on Monday, February 12, that they will not validate the scrutiny of the election of deputies to the Legislative Assembly.

Leaders of the opposition party Alianza Republicana Nacionalista (Arena) reiterated on Monday, February 12, that they will not validate the scrutiny of the election of deputies to the Legislative Assembly, held in El Salvador on February 4, while the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) defends transparency in the process.

The collegiate entity began the process on the night of Sunday, February 11 and on the afternoon of Monday 12 the vote count of the departments of San Vicente and Cabañas was concluded, and the localities of Morazán and Chalatenango have been given way.

Arena announced her withdrawal from the ballot because of vices that have been committed since the presidential election.

“As a party we have said that if the court does not give the conditions for us to participate in the final count, we will not participate,” Carlos García Saade, president of the opposition party, told EFE on Monday 12th.

He indicated that among the vices that his party points out are the noncontrol of the people, without credentials, who enter to “saw the process” and that there is no unanimity in the criterion of how the ballots are being reported.

He said that Arena asks, mainly, that he have real control over who enters the areas of work – and that the electoral entity provide his watchers with the process places for rest and food.

This morning, García Saade pointed out that his party considered that at some point the Electoral Tribunal would return to its role as a referee of the truth, that it was even and balanced, but, he said, it has not been so, and instead we have a flawed institution.

He accused the judges of the electoral body of being on the side of the government and assured that the institution “follows the instructions of the ruling party, of the New Ideas party.”

The leader of the leftist Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN), Scar Ortiz, said: “Although we do not trust this court, our staff will be present on Tuesday 13 to the count.”

He assured that at the conclusion of this process they will present to the TSE a letter with – all the irregularities we have observed in this and past process – in reference to the scrutiny of the presidential election that gave President Nayib Bukele a crushing victory over his opponents.

In the midst of what was denounced by the opposition parties, the Electoral Tribunal defends transparency in the process and assures that it advances as planned.

Marlon Harold Cornejo, an alternate judge of the Electoral Tribunal, said that the final scrutiny of the legislative election is being transparent, after a letter signed by four of his colleagues pointed out that they will not accept decisions that are not legally issued.

In the letter that has circulated on social networks dated 11 February and of which the electoral body has not issued an opinion, the alternate judges René Molina, Carmen Velázquez, María Blanca Paz and Sonia de Lemus say that we are no longer in the position of accepting decisions and actions that have not been issued in a legal and correct way from the plenary.

As well as – statements and commitments that have not been legally taken, let alone unilaterally taken, they indicate without specifying.

Cornejo detached himself from that letter and pointed out that I have only signed (lets) of a technical nature in terms of the election process.

“I reiterate my confidence that the process of definitive scrutiny is being transparent, it is being respected and guaranteeing the will of the elector,” he said.

Local media have reported on social media the appearance of double-marked ballots between valid votes even though they should be among the null, in addition to alleged modifications to the counts at tables and limitations on journalists to observe the scrutiny.

This article has been translated from the original which first appeared in Prensa Libre