The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) of El Salvador announced Tuesday the 2019 presidential elections to be held next February for the 2019-2024 term.
The court said in a decree, “Salvadoran citizens can cast their votes on Feb. 3, 2019. They will be able to freely vote to elect the next president and vice president.”
This week, all political parties will be summoned by the court to sign a pact of non-violence during elections. The count results and announcements will be handled by a commission made up of specialists. A total of 1,800 vote scanners have been donated by South Korea through a cooperation agreement, and new software has been adapted for the elections.
The TSE president Julio Olivo hopes that the system will not be sabotaged and asked the prosecutor’s office to be on alert during the elections. He also insisted on the need to carry out reforms to the current electoral system.
Among the proposals he raised are: simplifying the electoral system and keeping the vote secret, egalitarian and direct; to approve the constitutional reform that gives TSE lawful backing to avoid delays in elections; to strengthen its authority granting it the status of a state organ; and regulating the number of non-partisan candidates.
The budget allocated for the next elections is US$27.5 million. On election day, 1,595 voting centers will be available with 9,578 polling stations, more than five million ballots, and 6,500 ballots for voting abroad will have been printed.
According to the polls, Nayib Bukele, the former leftist mayor of San Salvador, who was expelled from the FMlN for "acts of aggression" and verbal attacks against another member of the party, has been nominated by the right-wing Great Alliance for National Unity (GANA) and is the favorite to win.
The other possible candidates are businessman Carlos Calleja of the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA), and former Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez of the ruling left party Farabundo Marti Front of National Liberation (FMLN).