FMLN Proposal to Turn the Elections into a Contribution to Peace
The General Command of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) takes into account:
1. That the last five elections have not resolved the country's fundamental problems.
2. The lack of credibility which the elections have among the people, who see them as a fraud that can do nothing to stop the conflict and resolve the extremely grave economic crisis which is intensifying the social struggle.
3. The country's total dependence on the United States, which forces the traditional parties—the Christian Democrats and ARENA—to win favor with the US government rather than with the Salvadoran people.
4. The existence of an overriding tendency towards fraud, and towards crisis among the legislative, judicial, executive and military branches; which has made the debate over the electoral law irresolvable, just as the results of the last election were no solution. This makes the upcoming elections an explosive factor which could result in an even greater political crisis and lead to a definitive power vacuum.
5. The worsening of the violence stemming from the rise in repression against the population who demand a solution to their problems, leaves the armed forces with a dilemma: carry out genocide and provoke an insurrection, or wait for a power vacuum and an insurrection spurred by hunger.
6. The existence of an international situation in which the majority of wars are being resolved via the route of negotiation.
The FMLN, making last-ditch efforts to stop the social explosion by giving the elections a higher goal so that they could contribute to a lasting peace, makes the following proposal:
To postpone the March 19 elections and hold them in approximately six months. We propose September 15—national independence day—as the date to carry out the elections with the following conditions:
1. An immediate end to killings, arrests and repression of demonstrations, strikes and all activities of the popular movement, and total respect on the part of the armed forces for the electoral activities of all parties.
2. That the army, paramilitary forces and security corps be restricted to barracks on election day itself and take no part in the polling process.
3. The inclusion of the Democratic Convergence in the Central Electoral Council, and the formation of an Observation Council—made up of religious, humanitarian and civic organizations—to assume responsibility for maintaining order on election day and serve as coordinating body for all international observers.
4. The establishment of an electoral code based on consensus among the parties.
5. The establishment of the right of all Salvadorans abroad to vote, and with international assistance organize the conditions so they can exercise that right.
6. The US should stay out of the electoral process, and not give assistance to any party.
The FMLN would make the following commitments:
1. Respect the activity of all parties and electoral organizations throughout the country.
2. Respect mayors, if they disassociate themselves from the military's plans.
3. Decree a truce from two days before until two days after election day and withdraw any military forces from towns and polling places.
4. Call upon its entire social base of support to participate in electoral activities, urging all people to vote, and support the platform and candidates of the Democratic Convergence.
5. Accept the election results as legitimate.
6. Accept, in order to facilitate this proposal's implementation, that the current government stay in office during the transition period.
Unquestionably, an election held under the conditions we propose would make an irreversible political solution to the conflict possible, which would be an enormous contribution to peace.
This proposal contains elements that differ clearly from the current legal state of affairs, which the ruling forces themselves are constantly accused of violating.
We call for peace to be given precedence over the current laws, making clear to the forces who have the decision-making power that continuing the war puts their economic and political interests on the brink of collapse.
The conditions in which the current electoral process is underway make it illegitimate. For that reason, the FMLN has rejected the elections and as long as the situation does not change, the FMLN will maintain this position, accompanying the people in their rejection of the elections. The current electoral process is exacerbating the war, while our proposal contributes to peace.
The FMLN calls on all the social forces of the country to take a stand on this proposal and expresses its willingness to discuss it immediately with the government, the legislative assembly, the armed forces and all political parties.
Monsignor Arturo Rivera y Damas, Archbishop of San Salvador, could assist in arranging these conversations, which would back up the Church's own ongoing efforts to reach a national consensus.
Comandante Roberto Roca, Comandante Shafik Handal, Comandante Leonel González Comandante Fermán Cienfuegos, Comandante Joaquín Villalobos
January 24, 1989 El Salvador