Leftist ex-guerrilla wins El Salvador presidency

AFP , Monday 17 Mar 2014

El Salvador's election officials on Sunday declared ex-leftist guerrilla commander Salvador Sanchez Ceren the winner of a March 9 presidential election, after rejecting the opposition's last challenges to the results.

Eugenio Chicas, the president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal confirmed a razor-thin election win by Sanchez Ceren over Norman Quijano of the conservative ARENA party who had challenged the results.

Sanchez Ceren, 69, of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), is set to be sworn in for his five-year term on June 1, Chicas said at a press conference.

The final results -- 50.11 against 49.89 -- were announced on Thursday following a partial recount, and are identical to a preliminary result announced immediately after the vote.

Quijano demanded that the results be nullified because of alleged fraud, and filed a lawsuit demanding a full recount, which was rejected.

The president-elect served as vice president under President Mauricio Funes, who came to office in 2009 at the head of El Salvador's first leftist government, ending two decades of right-wing rule, mostly under ARENA.

Sanchez Ceren, a former teacher, was one of the top military rebel commanders during El Salvador's bitter 1979-1992 civil war. He also served as education minister.

After the rebels laid down their arms, the FMLN became a legal political party.

Quijano, 67, is mayor of the capital San Salvador.

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