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El Salvador: FMLN wins first round of presidential election

Salvador Sanchez Ceren, candidate for the leftist FMLN party, gave a rousing speech on February 2 to announce victory in the first-round.

Click HERE for more on El Salvador.

February 3, 2014 -- CISPES -- With over 99% of polling places reporting, the candidate for the governing Farabundo Martí national Liberation Front (FMLN) party, Salvador Sanchez Cerén won handily the first round of El Salvador’s 2014 presidential election, earning nearly 49% of the vote. He holds a ten-point lead over Norman Quijano of the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA), who placed second with 39%. Former president Tony Saca (1999-2004) garnered just over 11% of the vote. The FMLN and ARENA will head to a run-off on March 9.

According to the CISPES electoral observation mission, which included delegates from the National Lawyers Guild and various US universities, the electoral proceedings were calm and peaceful.

As Laura Embree-Lowry reported for CISPES’ mission, “This has been a much more transparent and peaceful process than we’ve observed in the past.” Observers noted the positive impact of several steps taken by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal over the past four years to increase both voter access and transparency, especially the new neighbourhood voting system, which was carried out throughout the entire country for the first time on February 2.

The mission reports several complaints made to them throughout the day, primarily concerning voting centre that did not open to the public at 7 am as scheduled due to the absence of sufficient numbers of poll workers from the ARENA and Unidad parties, but these incidents were characterised as minor anomalies.

Embree-Lowry noted, “CISPES has observed every election since the peace accords. Today’s election shows that the process of democratisation in the country continues to advance.”

Both Sánchez-Cerén and Quijano gave press conferences in San Salvador on February 2 after the poll expressing satisfaction with the results and hope for a victory on March 9.

Amid cheering crowds and a sky full of fireworks, Salvador Sanchez Ceren, candidate for the leftist FMLN party, gave a rousing speech on February 2 to announce victory in the first-round. Watch below, in Spanish.

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