March 18, 1988

The President today announced the members of the United States delegation of election observers to the March 20, 1988, legislative/municipal elections in El Salvador. The President believes that this round of elections represents yet another example of the development and consolidation of democracy in Central America.

The delegation of U.S. observers will be cochaired by Senator Richard Lugar and Congressman Jack Murtha. The other members of the delegation are:

Senator Christopher S. Bond

Congressman Mickey Edwards

Congressman John Kasich

Congressman John Rowland

Congresswoman Beverly Byron

Congressman Alan Mollohan

Howard Penniman, elections expert, American Enterprise Institute

Mario Paredes, executive director, Northwest Regional Center for Hispanics (New York)

Merom Brachman, retired chairman, Ohio Ethics Commission

Eugenia Kemble, executive director, Free Trade Union Institute

Susan Kaufman-Purcell, Council on Foreign Relations (New York)

John White, former chairman, Democratic National Committee

Devier Pierson, Pierson Semmes and Finley

James Dyer, Deputy Assistant to the President

Ambassador Edwin G. Corr, U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador

Fritz Korth, advisory member, International Foundation for Electoral Systems

Betsy Warren, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Legislation

In contrast to recent developments in Panama and Nicaragua, El Salvador's democratic elections demonstrate the commitment of the Government and citizens of El Salvador to democratic processes and rule. The Communist guerrillas of El Salvador, the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), who have been supported by Nicaragua's Communist regime since 1979, have chosen not to participate in the elections and have instead engaged in the acts of violence and terrorism to intimidate citizens and disrupt the elections. But as has been demonstrated in the past, the determined and courageous people of El Salvador have never succumbed to the violence and threats from the FMLN. They have voted in record numbers in a progression of elections from 1982 on, repudiating the Communist FMLN and affirming their commitment to democracy. The President strongly supports the people of El Salvador and their democratic aspirations and is demonstrating this support by sending this delegation.