Tuesday, June 29, 2004

CDU-PDC: Clientelist practices exposed

Yesterday La Prensa Gráfica headlined a story about how the center coalition, CDU-PDC, agreed to distribute employment among party faithful in the Supreme Electoral Tribunal and the Procuraduria General de la Republica, the latter long seen as a PDC fiefdom as a result of political pacts in the Legislative Assembly. CDU magistrate in the TSE Juan José Martell tries to explain, but fails to convince this reader that this is anything other than standard operating procedure.

The reaction of other parties was, quite cynically, that of outrage. The paper mentioned that this was the first publicly documented proof of clientelistic practices that prevail in many government institutions, but most notoriously in the TSE, where the top three parties are represented in the leadership, and traditionally have divided staff positions among themselves. The TSE, which currently has ARENA, FMLN and CDU representatives as magistrates (with the other two chosen by the Supreme Court), will be replaced in July. It's unclear who will take over the third magistrate position--the CDU/PDC came in third in the presidential contest, but they along with the PCN did not get the 3% of the electorate needed to retain their legal status.

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