Beware the misleading presentation of preliminary results!
Yesterday I noted that the FMLN appeared to have won only 44% of seats on nearly 50% of the votes. I based this on the web page captured above. From the first few lines of the report–Departamento: TOTALES NACIONALES and Municipio: REPUBLICA DE EL SALVADOR–one might conclude that the page was reporting national results. Not so fast!
If one looks at the line at the bottom (which obviously I did not) one might note that the TOTAL VOTOS VALIDOS are far short of the national total reported at the top. Indeed, the votes totals by party listed here are San Salvador only.
I take small–very small–comfort from knowing that others made the same error I did. Various news accounts had said the FMLN had won about half the vote nationally, and so did a blog I often read and consider reliable.
I thank Heather B. for pointing this out. Evidently the FMLN actually has around 43% of the national votes.
Heather also informs me that a contact says the seats totals are different from previous reports:
Partido de Conciliación Nacional 11
Partido Demócrata Cristiano 5
Cambio Democrático 1
If these various numbers are correct, the FMLN is still under-represented (which was the main theme of yesterday’s report here) and, in terms of seats won, the party has been harmed even more by the nonconcurrent elections (a theme I wrote about on Sunday), given that the FMLN presidential candidate is still expected to approach or exceed 50% in the March election. But the FMLN did not do as well in votes, or wind up as seriously under-represented, in Sunday’s election as I previously believed.
(Even a Salvadoran newspaper had the preliminary seat totals of the PCN way off, reporting 4. If it won 11, it would be more in keeping with its usual totals, and would certainly continue its tendency to be over-represented by the simple-quota, largest-remainders system.)
These revised numbers would also mean a significant change in the political calculus for an eventual FMLN presidency. No longer would the PDC have enough votes in congress to get the FMLN over half the seats, if it chose to bargain with the president and his party. The FMLN will need the PCN, which would be interesting: this is the party that has its roots in the rural support network of the old pre-1979 regime that the FMLN organized to overthrow (and that the PDC probably defeated electorally at the head of a center-left coalition in 1972). The PCN has worked in the legislature with the FMLN before–for instance, on as agrarian-debt relief bill that passed, but was vetoed by the ARENA president. So they presumably can work together again. (I think a broad right-wing opposition majority coalition and thus divided government, assuming the FMLN indeed has the presidency, would be very unlikely.)
I still am unable to get the electoral commission website to load.
I have uprooted yesterday’s planting. I will re-plant an analysis of votes-seats relationships once results are more clear.