Day 171 - Election day security
The polls opened this morning at around nine, and closed this evening by five. Everything was set up in the school (the most neutral place in Torola), and security was pretty tight. On election day, all cops are on duty, but most are sent to towns other than their own to provide security—the cops in this photo are from San Francisco Gotera, the nearest city. Because of this, they are not able to vote, since everyone is required to vote in the town where they live.
By eight pm, most people were saying it looked like the FMLN (the current ruling party) was going to win in Torola. By nine, victory had been declared. In what could have been the celebrations for a winning soccer team, men and boys ran through the streets chanting the mayor's name and swinging their shirts over their heads while fireworks exploded in the sky.
Nationwide, the FMLN won four or five seats in the legislative assembly, while ARENA lost a few. This means that for the first time in history, the FMLN has more seats than ARENA (although they will still be fighting over votes from the smaller parties to have a majority). In what would be a significant upset, early results are showing that the FMLN will lose in San Salvador (although they retained power in almost all the municipalities surrounding the capital city).