El Salvador political parties belong to a multi-party system. This method allows the country to have multiple political parties across all the political spectrum; members of these political party’s are allowed to run for local and national elections.
The political parties are allowed to put forward candidates for municipality mayors and for the country’s presidency. Each political party that meets and maintains the minimum requirements is overseen by the
Supreme Electoral Tribunal(TSE).
Each political party has its own set of rules and guidelines that members have to obey. The individual political parties have their own way of deciding which candidate will compete for each municipality mayor or president.
The political parties can compete by themselves in the elections or make a coalition with any other political parties. The following are the current political parties in El Salvador.
New Ideas or Nuevas Ideas (N).
The New Ideas political party or Nuevas Ideas is the number one political force in El Salvador. This political party or movement was created by President Nayib Bukele after his expulsion from the FMLN. New Ideas was legalized as a political party in August 2018.
In the February 28th, 2021 Elections, New Ideas won 56 out of 84 legislative seats of the Legislative Assembly. Furthermore, New Ideas will govern over 150 of 262 municipalities in El Salvador.
After May 1st, when the new legislator takes office, New Ideas will have complete control of two branches of government, the executive and the legislative.
Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA)
ARENA is one of the oldest political parties in the country; it was created in the early 1980s during the Salvadoran armed conflict. Over the last 30 years, ARENA has been one of the most influential political parties in the country.
The right-wing political party controlled the Salvadoran presidency or executive branch from 1989 to 2009, having four administrations. Additionally, from 1989 to the present, it has had a large number of congressmen or Deputies.
As of today, 2020, even though the ARENA political party has the most number of Deputies in the General Assembly or legislative branch, the party is in decline.
In the February 28th Elections, the right-wing political party received an unimaginable defeat; ARENA lost 23 of the 37 seats it controlled at the legislative assembly.
Grand Alliance for National Unity (GANA)
The Salvadoran political party, Grand Alliance for National Unity or GANA, was officially established in May 2010. This center-right party was created by people who defected from the right-wing political party ARENA.
As of today, 2021, GANA is the third influential political party at the General assembly. Of the 84 Deputies at the General Assembly, GANA has 5 of them, which puts them in third place, behind the New Ideas and ARENA.
Officially, GANA is the political party that controls the Executive branch or presidency. Nayib Bukele, the current president, won the election under the GANA political party flag, even though he is the New Ideas political party’s founder. Nayib Bukele was not allowed to run for president under the New Ideas party, so he was forced to run under a different flag, in this case, under GANA.
Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN)
The FMLN or left-wing political party began in 1991, after the peace accords that ended the Salvadoran civil war. Over the last 30 years, the FMLN has had two presidents from 2009 to 2014 and 2014 to 2019.
Furthermore, from 2009 to 2021, this political party has been one of the top two influential political parties in the country.
However, after the February 2021 elections, the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front or FMLN has been demoted to almost irrelevance. The FMLN was the biggest loser in the past elections.
The FMLN won only four seats at the Legislative Assembly; they had 23 seats before the elections. The most emblematic FMLN figures, such as schafik Handal Jr, Nidia Diaz, and Cristina Cornejo, didn’t win reelection.
National Concertation Party (PCN)
From the 1960’s all the way to the 1979 military coup, the PCN political party was the most powerful political party in the country; during this period, the PCN was closely associated with the Salvadoran military.
After the 1979 coup, the party declined in influence but continued to exist until 2010. In the year 2010, the PCN was canceled because it didn’t meet the minimum requirements to continue as a political party.
Then in 2011, the PCN political party started again with the same members under a different name; it changed from being called the National Coalition Party to the National Concertation Party.
Today, the PCN is considered relatively minor in political influence compared to other political parties such as New Ideas, ARENA, and GANA.
Christian Democratic Party (PDC)
The Christian Democratic Party or PDC is one of the oldest in the country, it started in October 1960. From 1960 all the way to the 1989 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 has ever had. Then, in 2010, the Christian Democratic Party was canceled for not meeting the minimum requirements to stay as a political party.
In 2012, the PDC was able to begin again as a political party with the same name; since then, the PDC has continued to play a role in Salvadoran politics, mostly at the legislative level.
Other Political parties in El Salvador.
The other political parties in El Salvador are VAMOS, Nuestro Tiempo, Cambio Democratico, and Salvadoran Democracy. VAMOS and Nuestro Tiempo each won one seat in the upcoming 2021-24 legislative perios.