El Salvador Government, Constitution, Flag, and Leaders


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El Salvador Government

Browse the listing below to find government information for El Salvador, including flags, leaders, and constitution information. Factrover also has complete information on El Salvador at its El Salvador Country Page.

  • El Salvador People
  • El Salvador Geography
  • El Salvador Economy
  • El Salvador History

    Type: Republic.
    Constitution: December 20, 1983.
    Independence: September 15, 1821.
    Branches: Executive--President and Vice President. Legislative--84-member Legislative Assembly. Judicial--independent (Supreme Court).
    Administrative subdivisions: 14 departments.
    Political parties (represented in the Legislature): Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA), National Conciliation Party (PCN), Christian Democratic Party (PDC), and the United Democratic Center (CDU).
    Suffrage: Universal at 18.

    El Salvador Government
    El Salvador is a democratic republic governed by a president and an 84-member unicameral Legislative Assembly. The president is elected by universal suffrage and serves for a 5-year term by absolute majority vote. A second round runoff is required in the event that no candidate receives more than 50% of the first round vote. Members of the assembly, also elected by universal suffrage, serve for 3-year terms. The country has an independent judiciary and Supreme Court.

    Political Landscape
    Roberto D’Aubuisson and other hard-line conservatives, including some members of the military, created the Nationalist Republican Alliance party (ARENA) in 1981. D’Aubuisson's electoral fortunes were diminished by credible reports that he was involved in organized political violence. ARENA almost won the election in 1984, with solid private sector and rural farmer support. By 1989, ARENA had attracted the support of business groups. Allegations of corruption by the ruling Christian Democratic party, poor relations with the private sector, and historically low prices for the nation’s main agricultural exports also contributed to ARENA victories in the 1988 legislative and 1989 presidential elections.

    The 1989-94 Cristiani administration's successes in achieving a peace agreement to end the civil war and in improving the nation's economy helped ARENA--led by former San Salvador mayor Armando Calderon Sol--keep both the presidency and a working majority in the Legislative Assembly in the 1994 elections. ARENA's legislative position was weakened in the 1997 elections, but it recovered its strength, helped by divisions in the opposition, in time for another victory in the 1999 presidential race that brought President Flores to office. A presidential election is scheduled for March 2004.

    In March 2003 legislative and municipal elections, ARENA won 27 seats in the Legislative Assembly and 111mayoral races. FMLN won 31 seats in the Legislative Assembly and 74 mayorships, including most major population centers. The right wing National Conciliation Party (PCN), which ruled the country in alliance with the military from the 1960s until 1979, maintains a mainly rural electoral base and gained 16 seats in the March 2003 legislative election. The formerly powerful Christian Democratic Party (PDC), which held the presidency during the 1980s and still maintains several dozen mayoralties, is now down to five seats in the Legislative Assembly and is no longer a significant electoral force. The fifth party in the Legislative Assembly is the United Democratic Center (CDU), led in the Assembly by the popular former FMLN mayor of San Salvador, Hector Silva. The CDU also holds five seats.

    Human Rights and Post-War Reforms
    During the 12-year civil war, human rights violations by both the government security forces and left-wing guerillas were rampant. The accords established a Truth Commission under UN auspices to investigate the most serious cases. The commission reported its findings in 1993. It recommended that those identified as human rights violators be removed from all government and military posts, as well as recommending judicial reforms. Thereafter, the Legislative Assembly granted amnesty for political crimes committed during the war. Among those freed as a result were the ESAF officers convicted in the November 1989 Jesuit murders and the FMLN ex-combatants held for the 1991 murders of two U.S. servicemen. The peace accords also established the Ad Hoc Commission to evaluate the human rights record of the ESAF officer corps.

    In accordance with the peace agreements, the constitution was amended to prohibit the military from playing an internal security role except under extraordinary circumstances. Demobilization of Salvadoran military forces generally proceeded on schedule throughout the process. The Treasury Police, National Guard, and National Police were abolished, and military intelligence functions were transferred to civilian control. By 1993--9 months ahead of schedule--the military had cut personnel from a war-time high of 63,000 to the level of 32,000 required by the peace accords. By 1999, ESAF strength stood at less than 15,000, including uniformed and nonuniformed personnel, consisting of personnel in the army, navy, and air force. A purge of military officers accused of human rights abuses and corruption was completed in 1993 in compliance with the Ad Hoc Commission's recommendations. The military's new doctrine, professionalism, and complete withdrawal from political and economic affairs leave it the most respected institution in El Salvador.

    More than 35,000 eligible beneficiaries from among the former guerrillas and soldiers who fought the war received land under the peace accord-mandated land transfer program, which ended in January 1997. The majority of them also have received agricultural credits. The international community, the Salvadoran Government, the former rebels, and the various financial institutions involved in the process continue to work closely together to deal with follow-on issues resulting from the program.

    National Civilian Police
    The new civilian police force, created to replace the discredited public security forces, deployed its first officers in March 1993, and was present throughout the country by the end of 1994. As of 2002, the PNC has about 16,500 officers. The United States, through the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP), has led international support for the PNC and the National Public Security Academy (ANSP), providing about $32 million in nonlethal equipment and training since 1992. The ICITAP programs plans to spend $1 million on assistance to the PNC in 2002. The ICITAP mission is to help the ANSP and the PNC to develop more experience in police techniques and procedures and assist with the development of an efficient operation and administration.

    Both the Truth Commission and the Joint Group identified weaknesses in the judiciary and recommended solutions, the most dramatic being the replacement of all the magistrates on the Supreme Court. This recommendation was fulfilled in 1994 when an entirely new court was elected, but weaknesses remain. The process of replacing incompetent judges in the lower courts, and of strengthening the attorney generals' and public defender's offices, has moved more slowly. The government continues to work in all of these areas with the help of international donors, including the United States. Action on peace accord-driven constitutional reforms designed to improve the administration of justice was largely completed in 1996 with legislative approval of several amendments and the revision of the Criminal Procedure Code--with broad political consensus.

    source: http://www.state.gov

  • El Salvador People
  • El Salvador Geography
  • El Salvador Economy
  • El Salvador History