El Salvador - Political and electoral system

Political and administrative structure

Divided into 14 departments, which are divided into 39 districts, which are in turn divided into 262 municipalities. Municipalities are the country's primary unit of political and administrative organization, occupying their own territories and operating on the basis of laws which ensure popular participation in the development and management of local society. (Art.2, Municipal Code, 1986; amended in 2008. See: http://www.csj.gob.sv/leyes.nsf/0/1db8b637a047a63c06256d02005a3af3?OpenDocument

National parliament

La Asamblea Legislativa es un cuerpo colegiado compuesto por diputadas y diputados. Es de tipo unicameral y actualmente se encuentra integrada por ochenta y cuatro (84) diputadas y diputados propietarios (e igual número de sumplentes) elegidos por sufragio universal, quienes representan los 14 departamentos de la República, de forma proporcional a sus respectivos tamaños poblacionales.

Municipal government

For purposes of local government, departments are divided into municipalities, which are governed by councils consisting of a mayor, a district representative and two or more councilpersons. The number of councilpersons is proportional to the size of the population. The municipal council is the highest municipal authority, and is headed by the mayor (Art. 24, Municipal Code).

Duration of terms

Serve for a three-year term, and may be re-elected. Other requirements are established by law. (Art.24, Municipal Code). Terms last three years, beginning on 1 May and ending on 30 April.

Representation system

Mayors are elected by majority; councilpersons are selected by proportional distribution.

Type of list

Closed party list for councilpersons and district representatives.

Electoral constituency

Uninominal constituency for mayors; variable constituencies for councilpersons.

Quota and parity laws


Legal instruments applicable to municipalities

1986 Municipal Code.

Electoral Justice

The highest electoral and administrative authority for these and other elections is the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE). The TSE is made up of five permanent and five alternate judges. It enjoys full jurisdictional, administrative and financial autonomy with regard to electoral matters, in accordance with Article 56 of the Electoral Code.