“Electoral observation is also a way of being church”, says FECLAI from El Salvador

EL SALVADOR-

The Ecumenical Forum of Churches El Salvador, FECLAI, performed a process of electoral observation in more than 50 Salvadoran municipalities during the February 28th 2021 elections. In a short report by the Electoral Observation they say: “Electoral observation is also a way of being church, that is, seeing with eyes of faith what the common people see and feel when being called to practice an electoral exercise, where they exercise power and citizenship like few other times”.

The Ecumenical Forum of Churches El Salvador is made up of: the Reformed Calvinis, Anglican Episcopal, Emmanuel Baptist, and Salvadoran Lutheran Churches, it has taken part of the Elections and Democracy Program and the Ecumenical Observatory Reverend Cecilia Alfaro.

The Observation Report is as follows:

After the signing of the Peace Treaties in 1992, the Historic Churches have participated in more than 25 electoral events. On this 2021, the objective is to look with eyes of church the electoral process, to inform and issue recommendations, to help in future processes the full exercise of communal democracy.

The national team was made up of 80 people from the 4 given churches, and a team of International Observers integrated by representatives of the Latin America and the Caribbean Office and theGlobal Ministry Peregrination Program in common testimony with the Christian Church Disciples of Christ in the United States and Canada, the United Church of Christ in the United States in dialogue with the Presbytherian Church of the United States and the United Church in Canada.

Since the beginning and in constant dialogue an observation was proposed to the Supreme Electoral Court, TSE, which was received and returned with approval, in it the Rev. Rafael Menjívar Saavedra was delegated as Mission Leader, the  engineer Briseida Cruz Mirón as International Mission Subleader, and the Lic. Edwin Alberto Guardado Montes as National Mission Subleader.

A training plan was elaborated jointly that included, between other things, the management of logs for the recollection of fresh information during the process.

The Supreme Electoral Court conducted an electoral classroom-based course to the national delegation and an online one to the international delegation.

The results achieved by the mission:

1 – Under the logic that the Churches are the people, the electoral observation is a mechanism that calls attention to the new generation, and introduces them to look to electoral events as an opportunity to bring, from their experience, something that to many of their age is held with apathy.

2 – The joint coordination with international observers generates an in situ opportunity, against a pastoral and prophetic support, for local churches to help strengthen their voices and to bolden their path in their way to announce the good news and denounce sin, wherever it may come from.

3 – Electoral observation is also a way of being church, that is, seeing with eyes of faith what the common people see and feel when being called to practice an electoral exercise, where they exercise power and citizenship like few other times.

4 – In the results obtained in these elections they were able to determine transparency, use of appropriate technology for the counting and sending of results, that generates trust in an institution that has been, for a long time, blamed for their vices and biases.

5 – Despite the strong irregularities of the electoral process, be it confrontation campaigns, violence, even the assassination of sympathisers of one political party, officialism’s intolerance against finger pointing, and a campaign without concrete proposals to solve the problems of the country, the peopleparticipated in a 48% and managed to relegate the strong forces of the right wing Nationalist Republican Alliance, and the left wing Farabundo Marí Front for National Liberation, to an irrelevant position against the new tendency capitalized by the New Ideas party.

Translation: Massmiliano Tron F

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