On Saturday, June 23rd, the General Secretary of the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), Medardo González, announced that the party’s leadership supports Salvador Sánchez-Cerén as their candidate for the 2014 presidential elections. A former teacher and long-time leader in the FMLN, Sánchez-Cerén currently serves as Vice-President of El Salvador and as Minister of Education.
Addressing a crowd gathered to celebrate Teacher’s Day, González confirmed, “We are in a process of selecting our candidate in which various compañeros have been named, but the National Leadership of our party, the Political Commission, the National Council and I, as Secretary General, believe the candidate should be Salvador Sánchez Cerén for the Presidency of the Republic.”
Other high-ranking public officials from the FMLN who have been mentioned as possible candidates include Oscar Ortiz, the mayor of Santa Tecla, Hugo Martinez, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sigfrido Reyes, President of the Legislative Assembly, Franzi Hato Hasbún, Secretary for Strategic Affairs for the President and Gerson Martínez, Minister of Public Works.
The FMLN will continue to consult with its members around the 2014 candidate, which will be voted on by the National Convention, according to the party statutes. The FMLN will hold its next convention, comprised of elected representatives of the party’s different local and departmental bodies, in the fall of 2013, at which point the candidates for president and vice-president will be ratified.
In responding to the press about the endorsement, Sánchez-Cerén noted that while the candidate is certainly important, “the credibility of a political power that has demonstrated throughout its history that it can continue and deepen the changes [that the current government has already begun]” is also a critical factor.
UPDATE: On June 28, Salvador Sánchez-Cerén resigned from his post as Minister of Education in order to seek the nomination for presidential candidate. The decision was mutually regarded by the FMLN leadership and by President Funes as a positive one that will uphold a commitment made by all ministers and public servants not to engage in electoral campaigning.
In a press conference, Sánchez-Cerén thanked President Funes for the opportunity to serve as Minister of Education and said that he will continue to work with the President on various social programs. He will continue on as Vice-President; as an elected official, he is prohibited by the Constitution from resigning, though any Vice-President who does run for President must resign six months before the elections.
According to aJune 2012 poll from the University of Central America, the Ministry of Education under Sánchez-Cerén was the most highly regarded within the administration due to the successful delivery of school uniforms and supplies, the “glass of milk” program, and early childhood education.