Prospects in Election Times

By Alberto Barrera

The lack of certainty about what will happen in El Salvador in the legislative and municipal elections of the 28 February has plunged many into uncertainty, burdened by an aggressive campaign, the use of claims as truths and abuses of power.

The electoral possibilities converge on the popularity of President Nayib Bukele and all the public opinion polls and analyzes give his New Ideas party the highest percentage for an overwhelming victory..

Restlessness, but difficult to change the announced official triumph for the fear of some or the joy of others.

We have a manipulated and uninformed mass in which the media and journalists have a responsibility for not exercising our work professionally. The result in favor of the official party could change the little progress in democracy and the hopes generated when more than 29 years ended a bloody fratricidal war and the doors to a better future were opened.

Society and its institutions, despite the progress, they did not comply as they should, that road full of promises and dreams seems to be the other way around today. The course would be from hope to madness.

The route for the repentant, that in the last elections they did not vote or gave their vote to another party, it's open and maybe some will return to the fold, although everything points to the color cyan, that use two matches, one with the N and the other with the drawing of a swallow, be the one who dominates the political spectrum, social and economic of the country.

At the gates of the electoral process that some consider the most important in decades, the population is getting ready to choose 84 MPs, 262 Municipal Councils and 20 seats in the Central American Parliament (Parlacen).

In the last elections, abstentionism was close to 50 percent. No one has said that they hope to exceed that percentage, but they have asked that the 5,3 million people on the electoral roll. The enthusiasm, as usual, it does not belong to all the people.

When one walks through the streets, towns and cities everything seems normal, except for the visual contamination of the parties and candidates that have upholstered walls, walls, poles and placed huge fences in which you can see the difference in the "investment" of money that no one explains where it comes from to support this or that candidate of x O Y match.

The same thing happened for two months when radios or television stations were tuned in and social networks were viewed, all saturated with requests for the vote of the 10 matches in contention. There were harsh attacks and "official" demands to exercise suffrage against "the same as always". Political effervescence was exacerbated.

The Citizen Action organization said in the campaign that more than 7,0 million dollars and of which more than 5,0 million were from Bukele's New Ideas, although he assumed power with the backing of the conservative, classified as "popular right", Great Alliance for National Unity (WINS) created by former president Elías Antonio Saca (2004-2009), who is in prison convicted of corruption and looting of the public treasury.

Saca was a candidate again for the presidency in the elections of 2014 backed by GANA, also by the conservatives Partido de Concertación Nacional (PCN) and Christian Democrat (PDC), but it failed, although analysts said it was to take away votes (more of 307 thousand) to the right-wing Arena - which he directed- for the leftist Fmln to win the presidency for a second term with the former guerrilla commander, Salvador Sanchez Ceren.

In the environment a toxic air remains due to waste, social media hatred of candidates or voters, by officials or citizens and that apparently was the call for activists of the former guerrilla party Fmln to be shot and caused two deaths and five injuries by three people linked to the Ministry of Health, among them a police officer who would have fired his gun. The prosecution has not yet completed the investigation.

When it was prohibited by law, President Bukele requested the vote for his party in paid messages on television and inaugurated the bypass on the highway to La Libertad; the Ministry of Education delivered computers and tablets to students and the Minister of Local Development, Maria Ofelia Navarrete, known as María Chichilco when she was a guerrilla, asked for a vote for New Ideas. “Voting is so easy just mark the N for Nayib, the N of my dear president ", the official said.

For all that uncertainty invades. And it's not for fun, it is not an invention, although the majority do not know or do not understand the risk that the incipient democracy runs in a country in which a brutal war was fought that in more than a decade (1980-1992) will cause some 75,000 dead.

Bukele does not hide his interest in the control of the Legislative Assembly that chooses new magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice and the Court of Accounts, the Ombudsman for the Defense of Human Rights and officials in other institutions who do not oppose the decisions of their government.

Before the elections there was an increase in criminal violence but it went almost unnoticed. Hopefully the process does not record violence on voting day, as the Human Rights Ombudsman said with fear., Apollonius Tobar.