State and politics
Politically, El Salvador has been characterized by
violence, coups, dictatorships and civil war and it was only
after the signing of the peace agreement in 1992 that a
freer party political work could develop.
El Salvador is a republic whose current constitution is
from 1983. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for how SV can stand for El Salvador. The country is governed by a president who is
both head of state and government as well as
commander-in-chief. The President is elected for a term of
five years and may sit for several terms, but not in a row.
Parliament, the National Assembly, has 84 directly
elected members who are elected for three-year terms.
The country is divided into 14 regions governed by
governors appointed by the president, and 262
municipalities, governed by elected mayors.
Following the signing of the peace agreement, the
political scene was long dominated by the two parties
negotiating the agreement: the right-wing party Alianza
Republicana Nacionalista (ARENA), which ruled the
country during the civil war and had government power until
2009, and the former guerrilla alliance Frente Farabundo
Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FML)), who won the
2009 and 2014 presidential elections.
Following the 2009 presidential election, a group of MPs
from ARENA jumped off and formed a new party, Gran
Alianza por la Unidad Nacional (GANA), led by former
President Antonio Saca. GANA was originally a right-wing
party and initially received great support, but lost in
popularity when Saca was accused of corruption.
When the popular mayor of the capital, San Salvador,
Nayib Bukele, broke with the FMLN, he turned to GANA, which
had then moved towards the political center. Bukele needed a
party behind him to stand in the 2019 presidential election.
Bukele took a clear victory when he got 54 percent of the
vote already in the first round, which meant the end of FMLN
and ARENA's dominance, at least as far as the presidential
post is concerned..
Since the mid-1990s, Parliament has also been dominated
by ARENA and the FMLN. It has usually separated only a few
mandates between the parties, with barely overweight for
ARENA (except after the 2000 and 2003 elections). However,
the 2018 election led to a stronger takeover for ARENA,
which received 37 of 84 seats against 23 for the FMLN. 26 of
the members (31 percent) were women at that time.
Several historically significant parties, such as the
Christian Democratic Partido Demócrata Cristiano (PDC)
and the military's old party Partido de Conciliación
Nacional (PNC), have lost support and entered into
various temporary alliances of several small parties.
The judiciary consists of small-scale courts (with peace
judges), general courts of the courts, appellate courts and
the Supreme Court. The legal system is in principle codified
according to continental European models. The most important
codifications are the Civil Code, the Commercial Code, the
Criminal Code, the Civil Procedure Act and the Criminal
Procedure Act. The death penalty was abolished in 1983 for
crimes committed during peacetime but can still be punished
under war or warlike conditions. The last known execution
took place in 1973.
Heads of State
Presidents (in selection)
||José San Martín
||Miguel Santín de Castillo
||Maximiliano Hernandez Martínez
||new military junta
||José Napoleón Duarte
||José Napoleón Duarte
||Armando Calderón Sol
||Salvador Sanchez Cerén