Home » Four days after the elections there is chaos in the vote counting

Four days after the elections there is chaos in the vote counting

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Four days after holding elections, El Salvador still does not know its final results due to numerous failures in the vote counting and transmission system and the doubts raised about the safeguarding of the votes and records with the results.

In fact, the website of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) that was intended to show the data in real time has remained completely static since last Monday at 70.25% scrutiny for the presidential elections and a minuscule 5.06% in the case of the elections to the Legislative Assembly.

Nayib Bukele, however, went out to celebrate his re-election – prohibited by the country’s Constitution but authorized after a controversial interpretation by judges of the Constitutional Chamber imposed by himself – on Sunday night when said page showed barely 30% of the count. , but already with an overwhelming difference in his favor by multiplying by 10 the votes obtained at that moment by the candidate in second position.

However, some voices began to point out that those figures published on the TSE website — which was down and without access for part of Sunday — did not correspond with those of the electoral registry and seemed to show duplicate results.

According to TSE data, and with 95% of the vote receiving boards counted, Bukele accumulates 2,604,018 million votes (including those cast abroad) out of a total of 2.3 million valid votes, which would mean 85.2% of support according to calculations.

However, the final results remain unclear and the worst thing is that it could take up to two weeks to know them and end an electoral chaos that has already led opposition candidates to even ask for the elections to be repeated.

Accumulation of irregularities

The problems began that same Sunday, when the TSE—which had announced that it could release up to 80% of the results around 7:00 p.m. local time, thanks to the new electronic system used for the recount—did not appear until after 9:30 p.m.

The TSE justified its delay in publishing the first official results – which did not arrive until about four hours after the polls closed – with the fact that some citizens were not able to vote in centers located abroad despite having arrived before the time. of official closure, so the organization guaranteed them that they could exercise their right.

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In her appearance before the media, the president of the TSE, Dora Martínez, stressed that this was the only reason why they had delayed their press conference, waiting to reach an agreement on how to proceed regarding the situation of these Salvadorans. abroad.

He assured that the rest of the day was passing without incident and limited himself to communicating the address of the website where the results could supposedly be followed live, without making any public reading of them or proclaiming winners.

At the time, the official count of the presidential vote was barely around 20%. A few minutes later, with 30% counted, Bukele came out to proclaim his victory.

The TSE did not make any public statement again throughout the night and the counting on the page stopped until early Monday morning, when it increased to 70% of the minutes processed for the presidential election that continues to this day. today.

However, despite the TSE president’s initial statements, they soon began to get to know each other through social networks. numerous problems recorded in voting centers during election day.

In some cases, citizens who were part of the polling stations worked up to 24 hours in a row due to failures in the internet service that prevented them from transmitting the results through the electronic system.

After hours of uncertainty and lack of guidance from the electoral authorities, the TSE issued a statement to announce that, given the enormous technical difficulties, it would accept that handwritten results be delivered, outside the online system.

Petition to annul the elections

The next day, the TSE judge ended up acknowledging that “it was not possible to complete the transmission of minutes in the expected manner” and noted that “some issues made it difficult for the transmission to flow as planned,” without going into more details.

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As a solution to the increasingly chaotic scenario, Martínez announced that the total number of electoral packages would be opened for manual recounting “board by board, ballot by ballot” in the case of ballot boxes whose results records had not been able to be transmitted due to errors in the system. That is to say, 30% of the votes for the presidential elections and 100% of those corresponding to deputies.

Finally, the final scrutiny began on Wednesday without much certainty about when it will conclude. A day before, the TSE magistrate Guillermo Wellman He had said he was confident that the results would be known in a maximum of 15 days.

As if that were not enough, some parties also claimed to have received complaints about the way in which the electoral packages, which protect the votes and records with the results, were guarded.

The court, however, responded that their collection complied with the deadlines established by law and were always guarded by the Prosecutor’s Office, the police and the Electoral Surveillance Board.

Due to this long list of setbacks and irregularities, some political parties announced that they will ask to annul last Sunday’s votes.

The president of the ARENA party, Carlos García Saade, He assured that they will request the annulment of both elections and described what happened as “electoral fraud.”

The FMLN presidential candidate, Manuel Flores For his part, he stated that he will request the suspension of the elections for deputies and will propose that they be held again on March 3, when municipal elections and the Central American Parliament are called.

«With all the irregularities that have happened, we must consider repeating the election. 48 hours passed in which we did not have news of how the electoral packages were guarded,” the representative of the Vamos party wrote on her X account (formerly Twitter). Claudia Ortiz.

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TSE magistrates, however, have already responded that, according to the Electoral Code, there are no reasons to annul the elections.

The look at the Assembly

The Electoral Observation Mission of the Organization of American States (EOM-OAS) questioned for its part the “slow” vote counting and criticized the technical and logistical failures which, in his opinion, “could have been avoided with better institutional planning and contingency measures,” he stated in a report.

However, he also clarified that the data collected confirms the wide difference between Bukele and the rest of the candidates, “which leaves no doubt about the electoral results of the presidential elections,” he concluded.

Without knowing the percentage of support he achieved, Bukele’s resounding victory is indisputable. as the person who will preside over El Salvador for the next five years and who on the same Sunday began to receive congratulations from foreign governments.

The only hope for the opposition, therefore, now focuses on seeing what happens with the votes for the Legislative Assembly, for which there are still no official results despite the fact that Bukele assured that his New Ideas party had swept them by the achieve 58 of the 60 deputies.

The president thus hopes to regain the majority in the legislature that he already enjoyed in the last legislature and that allowed him to approve projects and initiatives with hardly any obstacles.

For Bukele, this majority will be essential, for example to continue extending the controversial emergency regime It has been in force for almost two years and has managed to reduce the levels of violence in the country to historic lows, although it has also faced complaints of serious human rights violations.

For the opposition parties, extremely weakened and almost on the verge of extinction in some cases, achieving representation through their deputies in the Assembly will be almost their only opportunity to continue having a minimal voice with which to confront the government.

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