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National Conciliation Party (PCN)

National Conciliation Party (PCN)

The National Conciliation Party (Partido de Conciliación Nacional—PCN) was the official party in El Salvador during the 1960s and 1970s. Founded in September 1961, it represented military and business interests and was also a vehicle for the personal ambitions of army officer Julio Adalberto Rivera, who had seized power in a coup d'état on 25 January. The party strongly opposed communism and Cuban influence in Central America and was an enthusiastic supporter of U.S. policy in the 1960s. Although its natural constituency was the conservative Salvadoran landowning class, early PCN leaders were pragmatists. Their modernizing agenda and occasional populist rhetoric led to defections on the right, which by the early 1970s forced the PCN to abandon reformist initiatives and to adopt a more openly repressive style. PCN elements controlled the armed forces and the electoral machinery for almost twenty years. Consecutive PCN presidents of El Salvador, all military officers, included Rivera (1962–1967), Fidel Sánchez Hernández (1967–1972), Arturo Armando Molina (1972–1977), and Carlos Humberto Romero (1977–1979). Following Romero's ouster in the coup d'état of 15 October 1979, the PCN survived as a minority opposition party. While the PCN only received 11 percent of the popular vote in the 2006 legislative elections, it is the third largest political party. Through strategic alliances with larger parties, the PCN can still significantly shape law and policy.

See alsoMolina, Arturo Armando; Rivera Carballo, Julio Adalberto; Romero, Carlos Humberto; Sánchez Hernández, Fidel.


Stephen Webre, José Napoleón Duarte and the Christian Democratic Party in Salvadoran Politics, 1960–1972 (1979).

Sarah Gordon Rapoport, Crisis política y guerra en El Salvador (1989).

Additional Bibliography

Brockett, Charles D. Political Movements and Violence in Central America. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Ellacuría, Ignacio. Veinte años de historia en El Salvador (1969–1989): Escritos políticos. 3 vols. San Salvador, El Salvador: UCA Editores, 1991.

                                              Stephen Webre

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