Long hailed as one of the region’s most vigorous democracies, this small Central American country has seen voters swing massively toward newcomers and away from the two traditionally dominant parties.
Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador are weighed down by high crime, sluggish economies, and heavy reliance on remittances. And when significant political change has taken place, it has resulted in frightening political fragmentation.
In February 2014, Salvadorans narrowly elected as president a former FMLN guerrilla commander, but he will have to deal with a dire economy and horrific levels of crime.
For much of its history, Nicaragua has shown a predilection for personalist and populist rule. What explains the persistence and allure of these phenomena, and what obstacles do they pose for democracy in Nicaragua?
In March 2009, El Salvador saw its first peaceful alternation of power since independence, as the FMLN, a former guerilla movement that laid down its arms in 1992, finally won the presidency.