Calderón Sol Is Elected President of El Salvador (Great Events: 1900-2001)
Article abstract: After a decade of civil war in El Salvador, the candidate of the conservative ARENA party won the presidency in an open election, ushering in an era of political reconciliation.
Return to Democracy
On April 24, 1994, Armando Calderón Sol was elected president of El Salvador in the first free elections in Salvadoran history. The elections came after twelve years of brutal civil war in which seventy-five thousand people died and another million were forced into exile.
The fact that all political groups in the country, from the far left to the far right, were willing to lay down their arms to participate signaled a clear change from the violence of the recent past. The election of Calderón Sol, who won with 68 percent of the popular vote, was not regarded as a ringing endorsement of his probusiness platform and his political party, the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA). Foreign observers instead suggested that ARENA’s victory reflected the electorate’s desire for peace and stability above all other factors.
At the same time, although the peaceful acceptance of the results of the April elections gave Salvadorans some reason to feel optimistic, it was generally agreed that democracy in the country was still a long way off. A full 30 percent of the voters had been ruled ineligible because of irregularities in the electoral registers. In some rural districts, known...
(The entire section is 884 words.)
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