The left has never successfully competed in post-war politics. In 1995 while the war continued to linger, the FDNG (a collection of civil society organizations) competed in elections for congress and won six out of eighty seats. The URNG and the FDNG then attempted an form alliance for the 1999 elections, but internal differences prevented the alliance from being realized and the FDNG withdrew. The URNG went on to win 9 seats in the elections while the FDNG failed to win a single seat.
Today, the left looks to survive through the Broad Front, an alliance that brings together the URNG-MAIZ, Monsanto's ANN, Congressman Anibal Garcia's Movimiento Nueva República (MNR), and another sixty or so social organizations including the Frente Nacional de Lucha (FNL). It's possible that Rigoberta Menchu's Winaq might enter the alliance at some point as her political party was recently recognized by the TSE.
The URNG's Secretary General, Percy Méndez, says that while the alliance is built around this year's election, they do hope that it will be the basis for something more permanent.
“La idea es ir más allá de nuestro voto duro, tenemos que buscar el voto desilusionado de la UNE, el de los ecologistas… Podemos crecer mucho en San Marcos, donde faltaron 300 votos para lograr un diputado, en Suchitepéquez, en Retalhuleu…”, expresó. Según la proyección de Méndez, el Frente luchará por entre 25 y 35 alcaldías. En la actualidad la URNG tiene 7.This isn't unreasonable. While the URNG has little electoral support, it is probably the party that is most involved with its supporters in between elections.
|Blue are seats won by the URNG. A coalition might have won seats in the purple departments as well (plus another one in Solola and on the national list).|
In a paper that I presented at the International Studies Association two weeks ago, I looked at what might have happened had the alliance in 1999 held. Here's what I wrote
By most indicators, the fracturing had very little impact at the presidential level, but a significant impact on legislative elections. In the first round of the presidential elections, the ANN won 12.4% and the FDNG 1.28%. For congressional elections, the ANN captured nine seats with 8% of the vote while the FDNG failed to win a seat, capturing only 2.87% of the national vote.
If the FDNG had remained a member of the ANN coalition for the 1999 elections, it is possible that the larger coalition would have picked up an additional five seats, finishing with fourteen. The ANN with the FDNG would have picked up additional seats in Chimaltenango, Sololá, Alta Verapaz, and Petén and one on the national list. This would have been a 55% increase. The inability of the FDNG and the URNG to maintain an electoral alliance in 1999 was a lost opportunity for the left in Guatemala.A pickup of a few seats in 2011 would not be unreasonable for the URNG and the Broad Front. With Sandra Torres' ambition leaving a bad taste in peoples' mouths, I wouldn't be surprised if the Broad Front picked up some former UNE voter as well.