Salvadoran presidential election, 2004

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A presidential election was held in El Salvador on Sunday, 21 March 2004. The Salvadoran people elected a new president, together with his vice-president, for a five-year term.

Antonio "Tony" Saca of the ARENA party won the election. El Salvador's constitution provides for a second-round runoff vote in the event that no candidate secures an absolute majority; however, Saca's 57% share of the vote meant that the second round, scheduled for 2 May, would not take place.


There were two front-running candidates:

There were also two additional candidates. However, pre-vote opinion polls consistently placed both of them far behind the two leaders:

The election was monitored by 270 international observers and El Salvador's own Tribunal Supremo Electoral, an institution created in 1992 to reform and validate the country's electoral system. Some 17,000 police were on security duty during the election.

Foreign interference[edit]

The U.S. government under George W. Bush interfered in the elections[1] by threatening a deterioration of the bilateral relations in case of a victory by FMLN's candidate Schafik Handal. Bush's Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Otto Reich, stated that the U.S. government was "concerned about the impact that an FMLN victory could have on the commercial, economic, and migration-related relations of the U.S. with El Salvador."[1]


e • d Summary of the 21 March 2004 Salvadoran presidential election results
Candidate, Party Votes %
Elías Antonio ("Tony") Saca González, Nationalist Republican Alliance (Alianza Republicana Nacionalista) 1,314,436 57.71%
Schafik Jorge Handal, Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional) 812,519 35.68%
Héctor Silva Argüello, United Democratic Centre-Christian Democratic Party (Centro Democrático Unido-Partido Demócrata Cristiano) 88,737 3.90%
José Rafael Machuca Zelaya, Party of National Conciliation (Partido de Conciliación Nacional) 61,781 2.71%
Total (turnout 67.3%) 2,277,473 100.00
Invalid votes 40,508
Total votes cast 2,317,981
Registered voters 3,442,330

The election had a 67% turn-out (or 3.4 million voters), the highest in Salvadoran history. The Tribunal Supremo Electoral confirmed Saca as the winner on Monday 22 March.

Handal recognized Tony Saca's victory, but chose not to congratulate him. Saca announced his intention to seek reconciliation with the opposition FMLN, in an effort to heal old divisions from the country's violent past.

Saca selected Ana Vilma de Escobar to be his vice-president. She was previously the director of the Salvadoran Social Security Institute (ISSS). The new government took office on 1 June 2004.

External links[edit]