Voices from El Salvador has a great overview of the developments regarding the debate over Decree 743 that is really worth checking out so as to get even more confused caught up on what's going on.
As I said the other day, we don't really know why the different political parties in the Legislative Assembly voted the way they did (the first and/or second times). Did ARENA vote because of concerns about the Amnesty Law? CAFTA? Dollarization? All three? Were they "protecting" democracy in order to prevent the court from making the country so unstable that the military would carry out a coup?
Did the PDC and PCN vote for the decree just to get back at the court for invalidating them? Is the FMLN really against the decree or are they happy that it passed without its support so that it can now be the good guy in all this?
We also don't know what President Funes was thinking when he signed the legislation. Was he concerned about the court's involvement in executive branch operations, the amnesty law, and/or something else?
We know what each has said publicly but, that is different from knowing what they were actually thinking.
Boz wonders what the FMLN is thinking and whether they might be in a position to benefit electorally from the situation.
Is the FMLN falling in line behind Funes, who approved the law (and some say authored it)? Or are they just enjoying the political punishment being faced by ARENA for passing the law and want to prolong the issue? Is there about to be a split in both the right and left coalitions? Which side does civil society blame if the law remains in place?
I don't have the answer to those questions. I don't think that the FMLN is falling behind Funes. I'm not convinced that even if they take the same position on the decree that it is for the same reason. The FMLN is a party set on moving beyond a person many thought was a center-left presidential candidate. They want one of their own in 2014.
That brings up an interesting question about who voters will punish in 2014 if the economy continues to putter along and the security situation doesn't improve. One would presume that that wouldn't be good for the incumbent party. However, if Salvadorans do not evaluate Funes' policies (CAFTA, dollarization, strong relations with the US and an arms distance from Venezuela, mano dura security policies, etc.) positively by then, would voters want to return a party that supports those same policies to office - ARENA?
Or do they vote FMLN to punish Funes? While they might not make any or all these changes, the FMLN is against CAFTA, dollarization, and mano dura (to a certain extent). The FMLN is probably more open to repealing the 1993 Amnesty Law, but not by much. The FMLN would draw closer to Venezuela and Cuba and almost certainly join ALBA.
I don't want to say a vote for ARENA is the same as a vote for Funes. However, if Salvadorans really want to make a drastic change from the current FMLN-led government, they might actually have to vote FMLN in 2014.