, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 104-124

The Legacy of Violence on Post-Civil War Elections: The Case of El Salvador

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Abstract

Over the last several decades, numerous civil wars have ended as a consequence of negotiated settlements. Following many of these settlements, rebel groups have made the transition to political party and competed in democratic elections. In this paper, I assess the legacy of civil war on the performance of rebel groups as political parties. I argue that the ability of rebels to capture and control territory and their use of violence against the civilian population are two key factors explaining the performance of rebels as political parties. I test these hypotheses against the case of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) in El Salvador using one-way ANOVA and multivariate regression analyses. In analyzing the FMLN’s performance in the 1994 “elections of the century,” I find that, as a political party, the FMLN benefited both from the state’s violently disproportionate response and its ability to hold territory during the war.