INTRODUCTION: In an effort to defuse the political violence in El Salvador, President Jose Napoleon Duarte announced on Friday (6 March) the formation of an Electoral Council, to lay the groundwork for the 1982 general elections.
SV INTERIOR Junta member signing document
SV Commission members taking oath and being congratulated
GV EXTERIOR Army recruits on parade ground
GV President Jose Napoleon Duarte and officers taking salute
SV Soldier presenting arms (2 shots)
Sv Soldiers shoulder arms and stand at ease
CU Officer addressing recruits and calling for oath of allegiance
SV Recruits taking oath
SV Officers in stands
SV Recruits marching under national flag and crowd watching (2 shots)
GV Recruits running across parade ground, receiving diploma (2 shots)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: In an effort to defuse the political violence in El Salvador, President Jose Napoleon Duarte announced on Friday (6 March) the formation of an Electoral Council, to lay the groundwork for the 1982 general elections. Meanwhile the ruling civilian-military junta needs more troops desperately to win the guerrilla war. A recruiting drive for new men was-in full swing as the Electoral Council was sworn in on Friday by the junta.
SYNOPSIS: The men appointed to the Council included Jorge Bustamante and Guillermo Guevara Lacayo, both lawyers, and engineer Ernesto Rodriguez Rivera.
Their job will be to update the country's register of electors and register political parties. The last general election in El Salvador in 1977 was won by General Carlos Humberto Romero, who was overthrown in a coup in October 1979. President Duarte has not indicated a date for his polls, but told newsmen preparations were going ahead for a clear election.
As attention focuses on United States aid to El Salvador, the question of the junta's ability to win a guerrilla war has come to the fore. President Duarte said he is not interested in a political solution to the problems. He said, "Only the people can decide a government's destiny by way of elections."
However, with elections at least a year away, the war must still be faced. Salvadorean armed forces outnumber guerrillas by four-to-one overall, but in some areas they are heavily outnumbered.
The U.S. Pentagon believes the ratio needs to be ten-to-one to win a guerrilla war. So new recruits like these are being quickly trained to get them into action.
The junta has stated that it does not want American troops but it does need American arms and equipment.
Twenty more military advisers, bringing the total to more than 70, and an additional 25 million dollars in aid is being sent to the country.
These graduating recruits could soon be facing hit-and-run raids from guerrillas. But apart from any military casualties, other killings still average at least 30 a day.