El Salvador is a republic with strong
presidential power. Since the end of the civil war in
1992, politics has been dominated by the right-wing
Arena and the former left-wing guerrilla FMLN. The
country is characterized by violence, mainly criminal
youth gangs, but the police are also behind. Corruption
and impunity mean that confidence in the judiciary is
The 1983 Constitution provides that El Salvador
should have a state of the art pattern from the United
States with an executive, a legislative and a sentencing
Total population and chart of El Salvador for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Also covers population density, birth rate, death rate and population growth rates.
The executive is exercised by the president, who is
elected in general elections for a five-year term. The
president may not run for re-election directly, but may
return after the absence of a term of office. For
victory in the first round of elections, at least half
of the votes are required, otherwise a second round will
be held between the two candidates who received the most
votes. The president is both head of state and
government as well as commander-in-chief. For its part,
the president has a vice president who, like the
government, is appointed and dismissed by the president.
The legislative power has Parliament (asamblea
nacional), whose 84 members are elected in general
elections, according to a proportional electoral system,
for a term of three years.
The president can veto approved bills, but the veto
can be revoked if two-thirds of the members of the
Assembly so demand. To amend the constitution, a
proposal must be approved by Parliament for two
consecutive terms of office. The voting age is 18 years.
El Salvador is divided into 14 regions. Each region
is governed by a governor appointed by the president for
three years at a time. The mayors of the country's 262
municipalities are elected in elections that are held at
the same time as the parliamentary elections. Should
parliamentary and local elections occur the same year as
a presidential election, the parliamentary and local
elections are held on a different day than the
presidential election. Since 2014, Salvadoran citizens
have been allowed to vote abroad in El Salvador
Politics is characterized by a strong polarization
between right and left, where two parties have long
dominated. In the 2019 presidential election, however, a
candidate belonging to a third party (see below)
The Left Party The Farabundo Martí for National
Liberation Front (Frente Farabundo Martí para la
Liberación Nacional, FMLN) was previously a
guerrilla movement consisting of five guerrilla groups
that joined forces in 1980 to make revolution (see
Modern History). With the peace of 1992, the FMLN became
a political party. During the period 2000–2005, the
party had a majority in parliament, but on the other
hand, none of FMLN's three presidential candidates
succeeded in the 1994–2004 elections. It was very much
because all three had a past in the guerrillas and that
the electorate associated them with its hard line during
the civil war. Prior to the 2009 election, the party
instead appointed a popular TV journalist for its
presidential candidate, and he won the election. In the
2014 elections, Vice President and former guerrilla
commander Salvador Sánchez Cerén won.
The Republican National Alliance (Alianza
Republicana Nacionalista, Arena) was founded in
1981 by Roberto d'Aubuisson, a former major educated in
the United States. He and several of the party's early
members were behind some of the death patrols that raged
during the civil war. Arena had government power in
1989–2009. The party is closely linked to the business
community and its association of private entrepreneurs'
national association (Asociación Nacional de la Empresa
Privada, Anep). The loss in the 2009 presidential
election led to major internal conflicts.
A short time later, a number of MPs left the party.
They later formed the Grand Alliance for National
Unity (Gran Alianza por la Unidad Nacional,
Ghana). Gana has been the third largest party in
parliament since 2012 and, despite its background in
Arena, has collaborated with FMLN in parliament. In the
2019 presidential election, Ghana's candidate Nayib
Bukele already won the first round. Bukele has a
background in the FMLN but now has to seek cooperation
with Arena in Parliament to be able to pursue his
politics (see further Current policy).
The arena could long lean towards the National
Reconciliation Party (Partido de Conciliación Nacional,
PCN), the military's old party from 1961. In the 2000s,
however, it appeared that the PCN voted with the left.
After a ruling in the Supreme Court in 2011, the party
was forced to change its name to the National
Consultation Party (Partido de Concertación
Nacional, PCN). The conservative Christian
Democratic Party (Partido Demócrata Cristiano,
PDC) was also forced to change its name but was
then able to regain its original name (see Calendar).
Funes on a historic visit to Cuba
President Funes makes a historic state visit to Cuba
for three days. He is the first Salvadoran leader in 50
years to visit Cuba. During a meeting with Cuba's leader
Raúl Castro, Funes says he "came to correct a historic
mistake" and refers to El Salvador's broken diplomatic
relations with the country after the 1959 revolution.
Funes also criticizes the US trade embargo on Cuba.
Bus strike under gang threat
Following the bus attack in June (see June
2016), a law is adopted that makes it illegal
to belong to any of the country's criminal youth gang,
Maras. In an attempt to scare President Funes from
approving the law, the two largest gangs - Mara 18 and
Mara Salvatrucha - force the country's bus drivers to
strike for 72 hours. The strike affects half the
country's bus traffic.
16 dead after gang attack
At least 16 people are killed when the youth gang
Maras 18 shoots and fires on a bus on the outskirts of
the capital, San Salvador. The reason for the attack is
unclear, but it is part of a growing wave of violent
crimes committed by the criminal gangs.
Funes forms a national movement
In order to gather popular support for its policies,
Funes forms the Citizens' Movement for Change, a
movement for various groupings in society that want to
support the government.
Splits between Funes and FMLN
The gap between Funes and FMLN is becoming clearer.
Many in the party think that Funes does not pursue a
sufficiently radical policy. When the party celebrates
the one-year anniversary of its election victory, Funes
does not participate.
The government is expanding cooperation with the
The Government unveils a new security plan with
increased cooperation between police and the military to
curb the growing crime of violence. Among other things,
the police will borrow guns from the military and use
its barracks. The police also get better vehicles and IT