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Armando Calderón Sol: 1948—: Former President of El Salvador

Elected To Legislative Assembley

From 1985 to 1988 Calderón Sol was a representative in the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador. In the spring of 1988 he was elected mayor of San Salvador, the first mayor in 24 years to come from a political party other than the Christian Democrats. Calderón Sol campaigned on a platform of good government and anti-corruption. "I want to show that honest, clean people are entering politics," the New York Times quoted Calderón Sol as saying. Calderón Sol was also very vocal about his opinions regarding the role the United States had played in El Salvador's economic and political problems. U.S. News and World Report quoted Calderón Sol as saying, "[The United States] has turned us into a country of beggars, dependent on the U.S. taxpayer."

ARENA's political influence was strengthened in 1989, when its candidate won the presidential election for the first time. Instead of D'Aubuisson, whose image was closely associated with death squads, the candidate was 41-year-old Alfredo Cristiani, an American-educated millionaire businessman. Cristiani was sophisticated, well dressed, and spoke fluent English. He campaigned against the inefficiency and corruption of the Duarte government and promised honesty and efficiency. However, just after Cristiani's victory in 1989, the conflict between the government and the FMLN heightened. On November 16, 1989, the FMLN stormed the capital with the help of the Salvadoran military, and assassinated six Jesuit priests and two women at the Central American University. International outcry over this event, coupled with the end of the Cold War in 1990, led to intervention by the United Nations. On January 16, 1992, the Peace Accords were signed in Chapultepec, Mexico, signifying the end of the civil war in El Salvador. The FMLN agreed to end the fighting and instead compete as a political party in the next election.

According to the Salvadoran constitution, the president is elected independently of the Legislative Assembly every five years. In November of 1993 Calderón Sol was officially nominated as ARENA's presidential candidate for the 1994 elections. That same year Calderón Sol's mentor, Major Roberto D'Aubuisson, died of cancer. According to a the Los Angeles Times, his legacy was a focal point of ARENA's presidential campaign, as supporters wore shirts declaring, "D'Aubuisson, you will live forever," and crowds cheered the slogan, "Fatherland, yes! Communism, no!" The first round of voting took place on March 20, 1994, and Calderón Sol received 49% of the vote. Since he did not receive a majority of the votes, he faced a runoff election against FMLN leader Ruben Zamora on April 24, 1994. Calderón Sol won the runoff with 68% of the vote.

Some political observers and journalists called this event the election of the century because they were the most democratic elections in El Salvador's history. However, low voter turnout of less than 50% of eligible voters as well as widespread charges of fraud meant that, despite his victory, Calderón Sol did not enjoy much support among the general population. Accord-ingtothe Washington Post, Calderón Sol stated in his acceptance speech, "We do not want more confrontation or polarization. We will work for collaboration among all social and political forces to carry forward our great national project."

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Nate Smith Biography - Fought His Way into the Union to Theodosius II BiographyArmando Calderón Sol: 1948—: Former President of El Salvador Biography - Joined Salvadorian Nationalist Movement, Elected To Legislative Assembley, Reservations Among The Populus, Worked To Improve Foreign Relations