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Salvador Rightists’ Allies Give the Bloc a Majority : Central America: Arena can still call the shots despite its election setback.

From Associated Press

The governing rightist party lost its majority in the new legislature, but Salvadoran rightists retained the capacity to pass laws with the support of their parliamentary allies, final results from the March 10 elections have confirmed.

The Central Electoral Council announced Friday night that the conservative Republican Nationalist Alliance, or Arena, won 39 seats in the 84-seat legislature.

The rightist Party of National Conciliation, which formed a bloc with Arena in the outgoing Assembly, won nine seats, and another Arena ally--the Authentic Christian Movement--won one, giving the rightists a total of 49 seats.

There are only 60 seats in the outgoing Assembly of Deputies, which finishes its term April 30, and Arena holds 32 of them.

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The Christian Democratic Party, which governed from 1984 through 1989, finished second in the election with 26 seats in the new legislature.

The left, which had no representation in the outgoing congress, made big strides. The Democratic Convergence, an alliance of three socialist parties, won eight seats. The Nationalist Democratic Union, a Marxist party, received one seat.

Although the Democratic Convergence received more votes than the Party of National Conciliation, the PCN won more seats under a complex apportionment formula.

Armando Calderon Sol, the secretary general of Arena and the mayor of San Salvador, said his party will try to promote consensus in the new legislature.

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“We don’t plan on being a bulldozer pushing through legislation,” he said.

In an interview with foreign reporters, he said the new congress, because of the representation of the left, could be a significant force in promoting an end to El Salvador’s 11-year-old civil war.

Salvadorans also elected municipal authorities in the March 10 vote. The electoral council has not yet announced final municipal results, but preliminary returns show that Arena won a strong majority--about 175 of 262 at stake--of the mayoralties.


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