Nationalist Republican Alliance
|Founded||30 September 1981|
|Headquarters||Prolongación Calle Arce, entre 45 y 47 av N. #2429. Col. Flor Blanca, San Salvador, El Salvador|
|International affiliation||International Democrat Union|
|Regional affiliation||Union of Latin American Parties|
|Colours||Blue, White and Red|
|PARLACEN group||Central American Democratic Alliance|
|Seats in the Legislative Assembly||
39 / 84
135 / 262
|Central American Parliament||
8 / 20
The Nationalist Republican Alliance (Spanish: Alianza Republicana Nacionalista, ARENA) is a right-wing political party of El Salvador. It was founded on 30 September 1981, by Roberto D'Aubuisson and Mercedes Gloria Salguero Gross. ARENA controlled the National Assembly of El Salvador until 1985, and its party leader Alfredo Cristiani was elected to the presidency in 1989. ARENA controlled the presidency from 1989 until 2009. The party gained a plurality in the Legislative Assembly in 2012.
ARENA was founded in 1981 and was composed of former members from PCN. The party arose in response to "the insurgency of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front, FMLN, a group that united peasant farmers, unionists and intellectuals, which tried, through arms, to overthrow the dictatorship and to install a state regime inspired by the governments of revolutionary Cuba and Sandinista Nicaragua".
The ideology the party affirms to believe in is a system of democratic and representative government, emphasizing individual rights, the family as the nucleus of society and the respect for private property.
In February 2007, three ARENA politicians were murdered in Guatemala, including Eduardo D'Aubuisson, the son of party founder Roberto D'Aubuisson, in what was considered by the police as a crime related to drugs.
In 2009, ARENA took out a full-page ad in a Salvadorean newspaper calling on President Mauricio Funes to recognise the interim Honduran government of Roberto Micheletti installed after the military had expelled President Manuel Zelaya.
ARENA is divided into eight sectors: Agricultural, Professional, Feminine, Youth, Workers, Peasants, Private Enterprise, and Expats.
The highest authority of the party ARENA is the Comité Ejecutivo Nacionalista (COENA, "Nationalist Executive Committee"), which consists of 13 members. The members must be re-elected annually through the General Assembly of ARENA members.
In addition to the COENA, there are 14 Directors-in-Chief, one for each department and departmental councils called "Juntas Directivas Conjuntas" to coordinate political work in their respective department. In each department, a director is chosen who works with a specific member of COENA. The director's role is to organize and co-ordinate electoral campaigns and help the councils form party structures in the municipalities of their departments.
On February 19, 2013, Jorge Velado assumed the position as president of COENA, in a party leadership shake-up aimed at re-energizing a stale organization tainted by its association with the violent death squads of the 1980s, widespread corruption and the switch to the U.S. dollar as the national currency. Velado's former position as COENA's vice-president of ideology was immediately assumed by Ernesto Muyshondt.
At the legislative elections held on March 16, 2003, the party won 32.0% of the popular vote and 27 out of 84 seats in the Legislative Assembly. ARENA's successful candidate in El Salvador's 2004 presidential election was Antonio Saca. On 21 March 2004, Saca defeated Schafik Handal, the candidate of the left-wing Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front, by a margin of 58% to 36% with 70% turnout. He was sworn in as president the following June 1st.
In the March 12, 2006 legislative election, the party won 39.4% of the popular vote and 32 out of 84 seats. At the January 18, 2009 legislative elections, the party received 38.55% of the vote, and again won 32 of the 84 seats.
ARENA Presidents of El Salvador
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- CounterPunch, 22 July 2009, Back to the Future? Return to El Salvador