New party launched in El Salvador
A new centrist party, "El Partido Democracia" (Democracy Party) was launched in San Salvador in late March. It is a consolidation of those elements which, rejecting Marxism and embracing social democracy, split from the FMLN in December with the small social democratic party MNR.
Among those present to wish the new party well was the president of the Legislative Assembly, the minister for defence and a number of other members of the ruling ARENA party; together with representatives of the US Embassy and the PRI (the governing party in Mexico). A special welcome was reserved for a parliamentarian from the Swedish social democratic party, representing the Socialist International.
The event took place in the opulent surroundings of the Hotel El Presidente, which just a year ago was the temporary base of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal during the national elections. It was also the venue for regular media conferences by the FMLN leadership exposing ARENA's dirty tricks campaign.
It is ironic that the former FMLN leader Joaquin Villalobos, so prominent then in exposing the abuses of the ARENA "death squad" party, should now welcome ARENA's presence at the launch his new party .
Also at the bash was the former Nicaraguan FSLN leader Dora Mar¡a Tellez, whose faction has ditched the revolutionary project in favour of an exclusive orientation to parliamentarism. Her presence puts the rightward shift of a minority of former FMLN militants into a regional framework.
As in Nicaragua, the vast majority of the FMLN leadership and base have remained committed to a popular struggle with the perspective of democratic transformation of society.