El Salvador Political Parties: Navigating El Salvador’s Political Landscape

By Eddie Galdamez.  | Updated on Mar 14th, 2024
El Salvador Political PartiesSalvadoran Political Parties.

The political parties in El Salvador unveil a diverse spectrum of ideologies, histories, and influences.

From established entities such as ARENA, PCN, and New Ideas to emerging ones such as VAMOS and Solidarity Force, each political party plays a pivotal role in shaping the country’s political dynamics and governance.

The 13 Salvadoran political parties officially registered in El Salvador are New Ideas, PCN, ARENA, PDC, VAMOS, GANA, FS, FMLN, NT, Democratic Change, PAIS, FPS, and the Salvadoran Democracy Party.

Salvadoran Political Parties
El Salvador National Palace. Image by ElSalvadorNews.

The Salvadoran Political Parties System

El Salvador political parties belong to a democratic multi-party system with multiple political groups across different political spectrums and affiliations. Members of these political groups are allowed to run for local and national elections.

The political parties put forward candidates for municipal, legislative, presidential, and Central American Parliament elections. According to the Salvadoran constitution, a person can only be elected to public office through a political party.

Each political party has its own set of rules and guidelines that govern them and that members have to obey. Also, they have their way of deciding which candidates will compete in each election.

The Salvadoran Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) is the agency in charge of the Salvadoran Political parties; this organization approves new political parties.

Furthermore, the TSE reviews each political party after elections; they ensure that each political entity maintains the minimum requirements to stay a legally active political party.

New Ideas or Nuevas Ideas (N).

Nuevas IdeasPresident Nayib Bukele, after his expulsion from the FMLN, founded the New Ideas political party. It gained formal recognition as a political force in August 2018 and competed in its first elections in 2021. By 2024, it established itself as the number-one political movement in the country.

Undoubtedly, New Ideas is the number-one political force in El Salvador. The party has absolute control of the legislative and executive branches of government and has control of most municipality governments in the country.

With President Nayib Bukele, Nuevas Ideas will have control of the executive branch until May 2029. Additionally, the party has absolute control of the legislative branch; they control 54 of the 60 legislative seats, equal to 90% of the legislative votes until 2027.

Lastly, the New Ideas political party, which controls the legislative and executive branches of government, will govern 28 of the 44 municipalities until 2027, 26 by themselves and 2 in coalition with the CD party.

SEE ALSO: New Ideas Political Party. Number One Political Party in El Salvador

National Concertation Party (PCN)

PCNDuring the 1960s and until the 1979 military coup, the PCN political party was the most powerful and influential in the country.

Following the 1979 coup, the party’s influence declined but continued to exist until 2010, when the TSE canceled it because it failed to meet the minimum requirements to continue as a political party after the 2009 elections.

Then, in 2011, the PCN political party started again with the same members under a different name; it changed from the National Coalition Party to the National Concertation Party.

Today, the PCN is an ally of the New Ideas party and President Bukele but is considered relatively minor in political influence.

Nevertheless, it could be argued that the PCN is the second political force in the country, having two legislative deputies and four municipal governments until 2027, three by themselves and one in coalition with the PDC party.

SEE ALSO: Insights Into the 2024 Salvadoran Elections Results: Democracy in Action!

Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA)

ARENAARENA is one of the oldest political parties in the country; it was created in the early 1980s during the Salvadoran armed conflict. From 1989 to 2021, the Nationalist Republican Alliance party was one of the most influential political groups in the country.

The right-wing political party controlled the Salvadoran presidency or executive branch from 1989 to 2009, having four administrations. However, they have lost the last four presidential elections, two to the FMLN party and two to Nayib Bukele.

SEE ALSO: Dramatic Decline: The ARENA Political Party Lost 79.25% of Votes in the 2024 Presidential Elections

ARENA was also the major political force in the legislative branch and municipal governments until 2021. During this period, they had the most deputies in each of the three-year legislatures; furthermore, they controlled a large percentage of the local municipal governments.

Until 2021, ARENA remained a dominant political force in the legislative branch and municipal governments. They consistently held the highest number of deputies in each three-year legislature and exerted substantial control over most local municipal governments.

However, by 2021, ARENA’s control over the legislative branch and local governments drastically collapsed. After the 2024 elections, ARENA ended with only two legislative deputies and one municipal government, the lowest representation in its political life.

SEE ALSO: ARENA: El Salvador’s Right-Wing Political party.

Christian Democratic Party (PDC)

PDCThe Christian Democratic Party (PDC) is one of the oldest political parties in the country; it started in 1960. From 1960 to the 1984 elections, it was the main opposition to the PCN, the other major political party at the time.

In 1984, Jose Napoleon Duarte became the first and only president that this political party ever had.

In 2011, The PDC political Party was canceled for not meeting the minimum requirements to stay as a political party after the 2009 elections. Also, in 2011, high-ranking members of the PDC started a new political movement called the Party of Hope (Partido de la Esperanza PE).

Then, in 2012, after a year had passed since the PDC’s cancelation, the Party of Hope leaders asked the Supreme Electoral Tribunal to change that name to the Christian Democratic Party (PDC).

The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) unanimously accepted the request, and the Christian Democratic Party began again.

Currently, the PDC is an ally of Nayib Bukele and his political party. The PDC has one legislative deputy and governs five municipal governments, four by themselves and one in coalition with the PCN party.

VAMOS political party

VAMOS Political Party El SalvadorThe VAMOS political party is among the most recent additions and stands as an official opposition to Nayib Bukele and his political party. It gained official recognition as a political party from the Supreme Electoral Tribunal in November 2017.

The party participated for the first time in the 2019 presidential election with Josue Alvarado and Roberto Rivera Ocampo as candidates for president and vice president, respectively. They finished last with 20,7630 votes or 0.77% of the total.

Currently, VAMOS has one legislative deputy, Claudia Ortiz, who will serve until 2027. The political party didn’t win any municipal governments in the 2024 elections.

Grand Alliance for National Unity (GANA)

GANAThe Grand Alliance for National Unity, or GANA, was officially established as a political party in May 2010. This center-right party was created by people who defected from the right-wing political party ARENA.

GANA is the political party under which Nayib Bukele won the 2019 presidential elections. This political party is an ally of the Bukele administration.

Despite supporting Nayib Bukele, GANA failed to secure any seats in the legislative assembly during the 2024 elections; this marks the first time GANA hasn’t had legislative representation since its establishment as a political party.

GANA did well in the 2024 legislative elections; the party is set to govern six municipalities until 2027. It stands second only to New Ideas in terms of municipalities governed.

SEE ALSO: GANA El Salvador: Exploring the Grand Alliance for National Unity Political Party

Fuerza Solidaria (FS)

Fuerza SolidariaFuerza Solidaria is a political party in El Salvador, created in 2022 and accredited by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal in 2023. It is a political group comprised of former leaders of other parties, mainly from ARENA and GANA.

Manuel Rigoberto Soto Lazo, the president of Fuerza Solidaria, has served as a former deputy for both political parties, GANA and ARENA. Additionally, he served as vice minister of Agriculture in Nayib Bukele’s government.

Fuerza Solidaria competed for the first time in the 2024 elections; the newly created political group won one municipal government, Usulutan North.

Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN)

FMLNThe FMLN has had two presidents, Mauricio Funes from 2009 to 2014 and Salvador Sanchez Ceren from 2014 to 2019. Both ex-presidents left El Salvador and became Nicaraguan citizens to avoid prosecution in El Salvador for corruption.

Also, from 2009 to 2021, this political party was one of the country’s top two influential political parties in the legislative branch.

SEE ALSO: FMLN: Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, a Salvadoran Left-wing Political Party

However, in the 2021 legislative elections, the FMLN suffered a brutal defeat; the left-wing political party went from 23 legislative seats before the 2021 elections to four.

The left-wing political party struggles continued into the 2024 elections. The once-powerful party lost to incumbent President Nayib Bukele by a margin exceeding 75% in the presidential race.

Furthermore, the FMLN failed to secure any legislative seats or municipal governments in the recent elections. The FMLN’s 2024 electoral defeat is the worst in its political life.

SEE ALSO: Can Salvadoran political parties ARENA and FMLN recover political ground?

Our time political party (Nuestro Tiempo “NT”)

Nuestro TiempoNuestro Tiempo, or Our Time, is a Salvadoran political party founded in 2019 by ex-members of the right-wing political party ARENA.

Nuestro Tiempo competed for the first time in the 2021 legislative and municipal elections. With 26,945 votes, Johnny Wright Sol won a seat in the legislative branch.

Nuestro Tiempo participated in the 2024 Elections but failed to secure any legislative seats or municipal governments. Additionally, they suffered a significant defeat in the presidential elections, losing to Bukele by a margin exceeding 81%.

The newly formed political party’s future may be short-lived, facing potential cancellation in the years ahead. It failed to secure any legislative assembly seats and fell short of the minimum 50,000 votes required to maintain its political party status.

Other Political Parties in El Salvador

The other political parties in El Salvador are the Democratic Change (CD), the Salvadoran Independent Party (PAIS), the Salvadoran Patriotic Fraternity Party (FPS), and the Salvadoran Democracy Party (DS).

El Salvador Political Parties

In conclusion, the landscape of political parties in El Salvador reflects a dynamic interplay of ideologies, strategies, and societal aspirations. As these parties evolve and compete, they shape the nation’s democratic fabric and influence its governance trajectory.