The 1983 Constitution states that El Salvador is a
unified state, democratic and presidential republic. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of SV and its meanings of El Salvador. The
president must stand for a party, be elected to the general
election for five years and cannot be re-elected. If one
candidate does not get an absolute majority in the first
ballot, the two who got the most votes go on to a second
ballot. The president is the head of state and head of
government and is responsible for the preparation of budget
and legislative proposals. He also oversees foreign policy
and is responsible for organizing and leading the defense
and security forces.
The National Assembly, called Asamblea Legislativa,
the Legislative Assembly, has 84 members elected through
universal suffrage for three years at a time. This is how
presidential and parliamentary elections coincide every
fifteen years (1994, 2009, 2024 and so on). The voting age
is 18 years. As of 2013, Salvadoran citizens abroad also
have the opportunity to cast their votes.
The 1992 peace agreements complement the Constitution by
establishing an electoral council (Tribunal Supremo
Electora l) with rank as its own state power. The peace
agreements also authorize the country's human rights
commission and a national police force, created by merging
three former law enforcement forces as well as parts of the
rebel forces to the FMLN.
The Constitution states that sovereignty rests in the
people and that the political parties are the only channel
for expressing its will. While El Salvador, until the civil
war in 1979–1991, was characterized by constant bargaining
and extensive military intervention in politics, the
country's post-peace policy has been dominated by two large,
firmly rooted parties with roots in the parties to the
conflict. ARENA represents the right-hand side and was
formed by some extreme right-wing groups; The FMLN
represents the left and became as a legalization (through
the peace agreements) of an alliance of both very radical
and more moderate forces.
ARENA won all the presidential elections from 1994 to
2009, since FMLN has won. However, neither major has had a
majority alone in the National Assembly, but has had to seek
support from the old parties from before the war - the
Christian Democratic PDC and the Conservative PCN - or at
newer parties formed by the shelling of ARENA and the FMLN.
With their strong appliances, the parties in El Salvador
are more stable than elsewhere in the region. On the other
hand, El Salvador is considered to have Latin America's most
polarized National Assembly with stagnation as a result.
Alongside the party apparatus, certain groups still hold
great power, such as the officer corps, property and
business owners, trade unions and denominations. Moreover,
the extensive crime is a significant challenge for the
Salvadoran state powers.
Administratively, El Salvador is divided into 14
provinces (departamentos) and 262 municipalities (municipios).
The president appoints governors to govern the provinces,
every three years the municipalities elect a mayor and a
number of councilors based on the municipality's population.
Municipalities do not have independent taxation rights. The
budgets are allocated on the basis of a sack item on the
national budget so that the government (the president) has
great power in local politics as well.
The judiciary comprises a Supreme Court with four
chambers, 201 first instance courts, 322 peace courts (for
misdemeanors and disputes) and 26 appellate courts. The
Supreme Court's 15 magistrates are appointed by the National
Assembly by two-thirds majority and for nine years at a time
so that five new ones are elected every three years.
The Supreme Court's First Chamber tries the law's
compatibility with the Constitution. Since the judges are
appointed by the National Assembly, the courts have
traditionally been vulnerable to political influence and it
was a requirement in the 1992 peace agreement that the
entire Supreme Court should be replaced. However, this
happened only in 1994, after the government granted amnesty
to the belligerent parties. However, on the basis of the
peace agreements, the Judicial Council (Consejo Nacional
de la Judicatura) was made into an independent body to
screen the candidates for the judiciary and monitor their
El Salvador's national anthem
The national anthem is Saludemos la Patria orgullosos
('Let us proudly pay homage to the Fatherland') with lyrics
by Juan José Cañas and melody by Juan Aberle. It was written
in 1879 and accepted as a national anthem in 1953.
El Salvador's defense
El Salvador has a public service obligation for men from
the age of 18 with one year of service after selection. The
total strength of El Salvador's armed forces is 24,500
active personnel, with a reserve of 9900 personnel (2018,
IISS). In addition, there are 17,000 semi-military national
The army has a strength of 20,500 active personnel.
Materials include five lorries and 38 armored personnel
vehicles. In addition, the army has light artillery and air
The Air Force has a strength of 2000 active personnel.
Material comprising 14 attack aircraft of the type A-37B
Dragonfly, 11 armed reconnaissance, 10 facilitate transport,
11 trainers, and 28 helicopters.
The Navy has a force of 2,000 active personnel, including
90 personnel in a naval infantry. The fleet comprises 10
patrol vessels, and four landings.
El Salvador participated in the UN operations in Mali (MINUSMA)
with 156 personnel in 2018, and in Lebanon (UNIFIL) with 52
personnel, and with observers and a small number of
personnel in the UN operations in Sudan (UNISFA), in South
Sudan (UNMISS), and in Western Sahara (MINURSO).
Presidents of El Salvador
Presidents of El Salvador since 1931.
||Maximiliano Hernandez Martínez
||José Napoleón Duarte
||José Napoleón Duarte
||Armando Calderón Sol
||Francisco Guillermo Flores Pérez
||Elías Antonio Saca González
||Salvador Sánchez Cerén