On August 31st, the Salvadoran Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) ended the deadline for political parties to submit their coalitions for the 2021 elections. The political parties New Ideas and GANA formed an alliance in several municipalities, including San Salvador and San Miguel.
Many people are surprised by the coalition between New Ideas and GANA. Now the question becomes, is this alliance beneficial to both parties, and why do it?
Politically speaking, this coalition makes sense as it gives both parties a greater chance of winning a particular municipality or department.
The New Ideas and GANA Coalition.
For Municipal City Halls or Alcaldias, the following municipalities are confirmed in the coalition. San Salvador, Santa Miguel, Nuevo Cuscatlan, Talnique, San Pablo Tacachico, San Antonio Pajonal, San Lorenzo, La Reina, Las Vueltas, Potonico, San Ignacio, Santa Rita, San Rafael, San Pedro Masahuat, and San Martin.
The following are details on some of the strategic alliances and why it makes sense to do them; also, who is at risk.
The San Salvador Alcaldia or city hall election.
The person at risk of losing the municipality is Ernesto Muyshondt from the right-wing political party ARENA.
This strategic alliance makes sense, as Muyshondt has high approval numbers. Most polls show Ernesto Muyshondt as the second most popular politician in El Salvador, behind President Nayib Bukele.
Undoubtedly, Mario Duran, the coalition candidate, will have a better chance of beating Muyshondt in a coalition with GANA, than alone.
The San Miguel Alcaldia or city hall election.
Miguel Pereira, the current major of the municipality of San Miguel, under the FMLN flag, is at risk of losing the Alcaldia.
This alliance makes perfect sense as in the 2018 elections, Will Salgado, the coalition candidate, lost by less than 2000 votes.
If both New Ideas and GANA each have their own candidate, both parties most likely split the votes. Therefore, Pereira was going to have a better chance of getting reelected.
The coalition gives the New Ideas/GANA alliance a better chance of winning one of the largest and most important city halls in the country.
The Cabañas race for the Legislative Assembly.
The persons at risk in this department are Carlos Reyes of ARENA and Luis Urias from the PCN; the department has 3 seats at the assembly.
The political party GANA has a large following in the department, and the popularity of New Ideas, it almost guarantees two seats.
If the coalition does not win the third seat, it will be disputed between ARENA and PCN. This scenario will leave either Reyes or Urias out of the legislative assembly.
The San Vicente race for the Legislative Assembly.
The department of San Vicente has three seats at the legislative assembly. The current representatives at risk are Donato Vaquerano of ARENA, Roberto Angulo of PCN, and Elizabeth Gomez of the FMLN.
In the 2018 Election, the ARENA/PCN coalition gave the third seat to Angulo of the PCN over GANA.
The coalition of New Ideas and GANA all but guarantees one to two seats, leaving the rest to be disputed between ARENA and the FMLN.
The Cuscatlan race for the Legislative Assembly.
The department of Cuscatlan sends three representatives to the Salvadoran congress. The individuals at risk of losing their seats are Alberto Romero of ARENA, Mario Ponce of PCN, and Milton Ricardo Ramirez Garay of the FMLN.
The race in this department is going to be decided mainly on popularity. In Cuscatlan, GANA did not have strong support in the 2018 elections, and New Ideas is competing for the first time.
The coalition is counting on the popularity of New Ideas and President Nyib Bukele to win it one or two seats from this department.
Also, the current unpopularity of Alberto Romero of ARENA and Mario Ponce of PCN is making things easier for the New Ideas/GANA coalition.
My point of view on the New Ideas and GANA coalition.
Politically speaking, this coalition makes perfect sense. The alliance is going to give New Ideas and GANA a better opportunity to defeat the ARENA and FMLN candidates.
I do believe that this coalition was the right decision. Some people on both parties are not happy with the alliance. However, if the goal is to remove ARENA and the FMLN from power, this is the way to go.
Now, just because the coalition makes sense, it does not mean that the final objective is going to be achieved.