ARENA falls apart: five more mayors resign from the political party

There are four from Morazán and one from La Libertad. They argued for causes similar to those expressed by municipal chiefs who days ago decided to leave the rightist party.

The ARENA party, defeated at the polls on February 28, 2021 by Nuevas Ideas, continues to lose the little territorial influence it achieved in the municipalities. Five mayors of Morazán and La Libertad yesterday announced their resignation from the political institute.

César Omar Saravia, from the municipality of Sociedad; David Villela, from Delicias de Concepción; Isaí Fuentes, from San Simón; and José Lorenzo Argueta Canales, from Cacaopera, all from Morazán, decided not to continue under the tricolor flag.

The four notified their decision in letters addressed to the National Executive Council (Coena) of ARENA. The official act of resignation will be tomorrow in San Francisco Gotera.

They lamented the lack of leadership in the party and the course taken after last year’s electoral defeat. In the 2021-2024 legislature, ARENA obtained 14 deputies. However, two have already resigned: Carlos Reyes and Jorge Rosales.

In the previous legislature (2018-2021), the tricolor was the largest group in the Assembly, with 37 deputies, although four were separated for showing support for legislative initiatives by the president of the republic, Nayib Bukele.

Likewise, the four heads of the commune of Morazán criticize in the letters that the party prevented them from supporting initiatives promoted by the Central Government to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic in their municipalities, and point out that the arena leadership is only interested in returning to governing the country from the Executive.

The ARENA party held power for 20 years, but lost it in the 2009 elections and tried to regain it, and in 2014 its presidential candidate, —Norman Quijano, a disaffected deputy of the Central American Parliament— met with gang leaders and offered, according to the Prosecutor’s Office General of the Republic, benefits in exchange for electoral support.

Despite these offers, the party failed to regain control of the executive in 2014 or in the 2019 elections, and in last year’s elections it lost in municipalities that were considered its strongholds.

With the resignation of the four mayors of Morazán, the ARENA party only maintains a presence and political control in Yamabal and San Fernando, in that department.

Meanwhile, José Menjívar, mayor of Jicalapa, department of La Libertad, stated in his resignation letter that the party’s bases have moved «to second place» and that «the interests of the country are no longer a priority for ARENA.»

«The Salvadorans repeated to us election after election that it was not the ARENA that they wanted, and the results have been catastrophic. The situation is insurmountable », he wrote.

Added to the five known resignations yesterday is the one made last Tuesday by Ronny Lazo, mayor of Santa Rosa de Lima, department of La Unión. The day before, the municipal leaders of San Juan Tepezontes, San Juan Talpa, Paraíso de Osorio and San Emigdio, of La Paz, resigned.

Between last year and the beginning of 2021, three sand mayors from the Cuscatlán department have also resigned, while last year three from San Vicente did, as well as Jutiapa, in Cabañas, and Jujutla, in Ahuachapán.

In total, 18 mayors have decided not to continue with the tricolor party, while from the FMLN there has been one: Nelson Adonys Ortiz, from San Antonio Masahuat, La Paz.