The Supreme Court has disbanded two formerly powerful political parties because neither won the minimum level of votes in the 2004 presidential election.
The court on Friday said the centrist Christian Democratic Party and conservative National Conciliation Party didn't meet the 3 percent threshold required.
Leaders of both parties denounced the decision but cannot appeal it.
The 51-year-old Christian Democratic Party ruled the country during much of the 1980s and currently has two representatives in the country's legislative assembly. The 50-year-old National Conciliation Party was in power before the 1979 military coup and now has 10 representatives.
The unicameral assembly is made up of 84 members. No party _ neither from the political right nor the left _ has ever won the majority necessary to govern alone. Larger parties have relied on the votes of National Conciliation Party representatives to pass their initiatives.
El Salvador is now governed by the guerrilla group-turned-political party Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front. Its main rival is the conservative Nationalist Republican Alliance.