El Salvador’s Funes Holds Popularity After 100 Days

September 11, 2009

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – Mauricio Funes on Tuesday reached his 100th day as president of El Salvador with a more than 80 percent approval rating, in spite of attempts by the opposition to paint his administration as a “government of deception.”

Funes, a former TV journalist who ran as a reformed leftist on the ticket of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), took office June 1, replacing conservative former President Tony Saca at the post. This marked the beginning of the first left-leaning government after a long line of right-wingers (NT, May 29).

A July CID-Gallup poll ranked Funes and fellow newly elected president, Ricardo Martinelli of Panama, the most popular Central American leaders. Both enjoy 86 percent favorability ratings.

Local TV channel Telecorporación Salvadoreña earlier this week released a public opinion poll of 1,200 Salvadorans showing Funes’ approval rating remains high at 85 percent. The survey was taken at the end of August.

Roy Campos, president of Mitofsky International Election and Public Opinion Research that conducted the poll, said Funes is still in his “honeymoon” period. “The hope for changes (and) for a better life with

the Funes win remains,” Campos said.

A recent Universidad Centroamericana survey gave Funes high marks, also. University President José María Tojeira said the Funes administration is off to a good start.

“It’s a government that began with a quite solid position because it gave stability to a country following an electoral period in which stability was in question,” said Tojeira, who is also a priest. He said that he considers the administration is “a kind of moderate-leftist government.”

Faced with the worst global economic crisis since the Great Depression, Funes scored points when he proposed a $587 million program to build 25,000 homes, among other social programs.

The opposition, the National Republican Alliance (ARENA), which governed the country for about two decades, said the FMLN-led administration “is headed toward becoming the government of deception.”

“One hundred days is a brief time period that’s being used to criticize us,” Funes said at an event in Acajutla, southeast of San Salvador. The government handed over land to small farmers at that event.

–EFE

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