Nationalist Republican Alliance
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|Nationalist Republican Alliance
Alianza Republicana Nacionalista
|Founded||30 September 1981|
|Headquarters||Prolongación Calle Arce, entre 45 y 47 av N. #2429. Col. Flor Blanca, San Salvador, El Salvador|
(formerly extreme right)
|International affiliation||International Democrat Union|
|Regional affiliation||Union of Latin American Parties|
|Colours||Blue, white and red|
|PARLACEN group||Central American Democratic Alliance|
|Seats in the Legislative Assembly|
The leading party of the right in El Salvador is the National Republican Alliance (Alianza Republicana Nacionalista, ARENA). It was founded on 30 September 1981, by Roberto D'Aubuisson. ARENA controlled the National Assembly until 1985, and its next leader Alfredo Cristiani, was elected to the presidency in 1989. ARENA controlled the presidency from 1989 to 2009. ARENA gained a plurality in the 2012.
ARENA was founded shortly following the assassination of Óscar Romero in 1980; its founder is generally considered responsible for Romero's killing and linked to death squads, kidnappings and torture, but died before he could be charged.
The party arose in response to the insurgency of the Frente Farabundo Martí for the National Liberation, FMLN, a group that united peasant farmers, unionists and intellectuals, which tried, through arms, to overthrow the dictatorship and to install a state regime inspired by the governments of revolutionary Cuba and Sandinista Nicaragua..
By its strong anti-communist line, ARENA had the support of some members of the Republican Party of the United States, like the ex- American senator Jesse Helms, who supported Roberto D'Aubuisson in the process of development of the party. The ideology the party affirms to believe in is a system of democratic and representative government, emphasizing individual rights, the family as the nucleus of society and the respect for private property.
In February 2007, three ARENA politicians were murdered in Guatemala, including Eduardo D'Aubuisson, in what was considered by the police as a crime related to drugs, the son of party founder Roberto D'Aubuisson.
In 2009, ARENA took out a full-page ad in a Salvadorean newspaper calling on President Mauricio Funes to recognise the interim Honduran government of Roberto Micheletti installed after the military had expelled President Manuel Zelaya.
ARENA is divided into eight sectors: Agricultural, Professional, Femenine, Youth, Workers, Peasants, Private Enterprise, and Expats.[original research?]
The highest authority of the party ARENA is the Comité Ejecutivo Nacionalista (COENA, "Nationalist Executive Committee"), which consists of 13 members. The members must be re-elected annually through the General Assembly of ARENA members.[original research?]
In addition to the COENA, there are 14 Directors-in-Chief, one for each department and departmental councils called "Juntas Directivas Conjuntas" to coordinate political work in their respective department. In each department, a director is chosen who works with a specific member of COENA. The director's role is to organize and co-ordinate electoral campaigns and help the councils form party structures in the municipalities of their departments.[original research?]
Jorge Velado is currently the president of COENA
Electoral record 
At the legislative elections, held on 16 March 2003, the party won 32.0% of the popular vote and 27 out of 84 seats in the Legislative Assembly. ARENA's successful candidate in El Salvador's 2004 presidential election was Antonio Saca. On 21 March 2004, Saca defeated Schafik Handal, the candidate of the left-wing Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front, by a margin of 58% to 36% with 70% turnout. He was sworn in as president the following 1 June.
In the 12 March 2006 legislative election, the party won 39.4% of the popular vote and 32 out of 84 seats. At the January 18, 2009 legislative elections, the party received 38.55% of the vote, and again won 32 of the 84 seats.
ARENA Presidents of El Salvador 
- Alfredo Cristiani (1989–1994)
- Armando Calderón Sol (1994–1999)
- Francisco Flores Pérez (1999–2004)
- Antonio Saca (2004–2009)
- "El Salvador's presidential election: A nation divided", The Economist, 12 March 2009
- Van Der Lijn, Jair (2006), Walking the Tightrope: Do UN peacekeeping operations actually contribute to durable peace?, Rozenberg Publishers, p. 252
- Middlebrook, Kevin J. (2000), "Conclusion", Conservative Parties, the Right, and Democracy in Latin America (JHU Press): 286
- Bounds, Andrew (2001), "El Salvador: History", South America, Central America and the Caribbean 2002 (Routledge): 384
- Middlebrook, Kevin J. (2000), "Introduction", Conservative Parties, the Right, and Democracy in Latin America (JHU Press): 26
- Beetham, David (2002), "El Salvador", The State of Democracy (Kluwer Law International): 27
- Wood, Elisabeth J. (2000), "Civil War and the Transformation of Elite Representation in El Salvador", Conservative Parties, the Right, and Democracy in Latin America (JHU Press): 243
- "El Salvador", The Europa World Year Book 2008 (Taylor & Francis), 2008: 1649
- Atkins, Stephen E. (2004), "ARENA", Encyclopedia of Modern Worldwide Extremists and Extremist Groups (Greenwood Press): 24
- CounterPunch, 22 July 2009, Back to the Future? Return to El Salvador