Salvadoran turnout may top 80%

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With scattered returns still being counted, it now becomes clear that substantially more than 1 million Salvadorans went to the polls last Sunday to elect a constituent assembly.

Monitor Latin America correspondent James Nelson Goodsell reports that while political parties here jockey for the formation of a coalition government, Dr. Jorge Bustamante, head of the Central Elections Commission, said the total count could reach 1.2 million. That would be more than 80 percent of eligible voters.

As the slow count continued at midweek, however, it was evident President Jose Napoleon Duarte's Christian Democratic Party was being nudged aside by the five right-wing parties that together amassed 58 percent of the vote.

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Christian Democratic spokesmen, pointing out that their party had the largest bloc of votes (about 41 percent), warned the other parties that a government that excluded their party would face ''dire consequences.'' Just what these consequences would be were not spelled out, but it was obvious that the Christian Democrats were surprised by the quickness with which the rightist parties came together and were trying to salvage some sort of role for their party in the new government.

Although the rightist coalition appears firm, there are suggestions here that Mr. Duarte, his party, or both could still be incorporated in the new government. At the moment, though, the betting is that a rightist coalition will take office at the end of this month.

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