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

By Eddie Galdamez  |  Feb 12th, 2024
ARENA Political PartyARENA Political Party Members. Image by Jose Valdez.

In the 2024 presidential election, the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) political party experienced a significant decrease of 79.25% in votes compared to the 2019 election.

The once-influential political party obtained 177,881 votes in the 2024 presidential elections, marking a substantial decrease of 679,203 votes compared to the 857,084 it received in 2019.

The right-wing political party held control of the executive branch from 1994 to 2009; however, it has lost the last four presidential elections, two to the FMLN party and two to Nayib Bukele (Bukele was a candidate under GANA in 2019 and New Ideas in 2024).

ARENA’s Vote Count in Presidential Elections
1994 1999 2004 2009 2014 2019 2024
Votes 649,478 614,248 1,314,436 1,284,588 1,047,592 857,084 177,881
Change in votes -35,230 700,188 -29,848 -236,996 -190,508 -679,203
-5.42% 113.99% -2.27% -18.45% -18.19% -79.25%

The highest voting outcome for ARENA in a presidential election occurred in 2004, with the party securing 1,314,436 votes.

Elias Antonio Saca won the presidency in 2024; however, his presidency is known for corruption. Ex-president Saca is in jail on a 10-year sentence for corruption.

The decline of ARENA is associated with instances of corruption involving several prominent party members, including former presidents. Additionally, it is attributed to the rise of Nayib Bukele and his political movement.

Corruption

Many Salvadorans believe that ARENA has been one of the most corrupt political parties in the country; it is hard to argue against that perception.

A notable illustration of corruption within the right-wing political party is evident in the fact that two out of the last three ARENA presidents since 1994 have faced corruption allegations at the highest level.

ARENA ex-president Francisco Flores (1999-2004) died while on house arrest awaiting trial for mishandling funds; and ex-president Tony Saca (2004-2009) is in jail, serving a ten-year sentence for corruption.

Nayib Bukele

Nayib Bukele and his political movement have significantly weakened the opposition, particularly ARENA, one of El Salvador’s longstanding political parties.

Nayib Bukele received 1,266,869 million more votes during the 2024 election than in the 2019 presidential elections. He increased his votes from 2019 by 88.29%

2024 Salvadoran Presidential Elections
Candidate Political Party Votes
Nayib Bukele New Ideas 2,701,725 82.66%
Manuel Flores FMLN 204,167 6.25%
Joel Sanchez ARENA 177,881 5.44%
Luis Parada NT 65,076 1.99%
Javier Renderos FS 23,473 0.72%
Marina Murillo FPS 19,293 0.05%
**Null – Abstentions – Disputed 76,851 2.35%

SEE ALSO: Nayib Bukele Wins the 2024 Salvadoran Presidential Elections With Over 82.5% of Total Votes

2019 Salvadoran Presidential Elections
Candidate Political Party Votes
Nayib Bukele GANA 1,434,856 53.10%
Carlos Calleja ARENA 857,084 31.72%
Hugo Martinez FMLN 389,289 14.41%
Josue Alvarado VAMOS 20,763 0.77%

ARENA’s Challenges

ARENA faces a challenging scenario in 2024; following the presidential elections, the party has fallen to the third position among the country’s political parties, ranking behind the FMLN and New Ideas.

Furthermore, as things stand right now, ARENA might not get a single seat at the 2024-2027 Legislative Assembly, which will be a tremendous blow to the once-prominent political party.

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

ARENA is not in danger of disappearing in 2024; the party will most likely reach the 50,000 votes needed in the legislative assembly to remain a political party; nevertheless, they have lost all political power.