Senators call for 'free, fair' elections in El Salvador

Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) urged the Obama administration to ensure that El Salvador’s upcoming elections are “free and fair.”

The two senators wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry asking him to do what he can to help the Feb. 2 presidential elections go smoothly in El Salvador.

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“We write to encourage the Department of State and U.S. Embassy in San Salvador to take all appropriate efforts to ensure a free, fair and transparent vote,” the senators wrote in a letter sent over the weekend. “The Department and the Obama Administration can support such an outcome by making clear that the U.S. government will work closely with any candidate who wins fair elections.”

Warner and Kaine said it was especially important for the United States to help during this election, since this will be the first time Salvadorans living inside the United States can cast ballots in their home country.

“U.S.-based Salvadorans make enormous contributions to their homeland, providing almost 20 percent of El Salvador’s GDP through remittances to friends and loved ones,” the letter stated. “By participating in the elections, the Salvadoran-American community will be able to contribute to El Salvador’s democracy, as well as its development.”

The senators also said the United States should reduce the cost of sending remittances to El Salvador so that more of the money can be used for economic development in the country. 

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