Presidential candidates for the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) ended a tour of 30 Salvadoran municipalities on Sunday gathering ideas and concerns of the people for their upcoming race for the February 2019 elections.
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Hugo Martinez and Karina Sosa, candidates for the presidency and vice-presidency, respectively, wrapped up their three-day tour listening to people in the La Paz and San Vicente departments to gather the public’s’ ideas for the presidential bid.
"We are touring the departments, municipalities, and communities because we are of the people and we owe this to the people. We will always be with the people," Martinez told the crowd gathered in San Vicente.
Sosa, currently a legislator for the FMLN party, warned those gathered that the social programs implemented by previous FMLN administrations are in danger if right-wing candidates win. Sosa was named Martinez’s running mate in late July after the presidential candidate was selected in May.
Current president Sanchez Ceren of the FMLN is constitutionally ineligible to run for re-election. The Martinez-Sosa team will face off against Carlos Calleja of the long-ruling, right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) party, and Nayib Bukele of his newly-formed New Ideas party.
Bukele, 37, a former FMLN mayor of San Salvador, was kicked out of the party in 2015 after several times where he verbally, and, in one instance, physically attacked an FMLN city councilwoman.
The young Bukele has since formed his own party, New Ideas. Analysts predict his presence in the race could become contentious. He’s a millionaire by inheritance whose family owns several high-end, San Salvador businesses. Bukele has denounced neoliberalism, but in a 2015 interview, when asked if he was a leftist, Bukele replied, “Yes and no.” He added, “I’m not in favor of curtailing economic freedoms."
Martinez was formerly the Minister of Foreign Relations, focusing on Central America integration and opening up El Salvador’s international relations, among them, Cuba.