Former guerrilla leader wins El Salvador presidential election

Election tribunal ratifies Sánchez Céren’s narrow win, rejecting calls for recount

El Salvador’s   election tribunal has ratified Sánchez Céren’s victory in the nation’s presidential election, rejecting opposition calls for a recount. Photograph: Henry Romero/Reuters

El Salvador’s election tribunal has ratified Sánchez Céren’s victory in the nation’s presidential election, rejecting opposition calls for a recount. Photograph: Henry Romero/Reuters

Thu, Mar 13, 2014, 20:53

El Salvador’s election tribunal has ratified Salvador Sánchez Céren’s victory in the nation’s presidential election, rejecting opposition calls for a recount based on allegations of fraud.

In the final tally, vice-president Mr Sánchez Céren of the ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) defeated Norman Quijano (67) of the Arena party by 50.1 per cent to 49.9 per cent, according to results of last Sunday’s election released by the tribunal.

The FMLN is a militant group that fought a string of US-backed governments in the 1980-1992 civil war.

The final count put the margin of victory at 6,364 votes out of three million ballots cast, compared with 6,634 in the first tally, according to the tribunal’s website. Mr Quijano has alleged the election was marred by fraud.

El Salvador’s dollar bonds plunged after Mr Sánchez Céren, a 69-year-old former rebel commander who vowed closer ties with Venezuela’s socialist government, narrowly missed a first-round victory, winning about 49 per cent of the vote held on February 2nd.

El Salvador’s new president will have to confront a failing 2012 truce with street gangs that have made the country of 6.1 million people one of the most violent in the world, according to the United Nations.

President Mauricio Funes, who was not eligible for re-election, said this month that his government planned to deploy an additional 5,000 troops to augment 6,500 already on the streets to counter crime.

Mr Sánchez Céren will take office on June 1st, with a public debt expected to reach 65 per cent of GDP by 2015, according to a report released by Barclays Plc in January.
– (Bloomberg)