SAN SALVADOR: Voters in El Salvador cast ballots on Sunday in a presidential run-off which was expected to crown the current vice president, a former guerrilla commander, as the country’s new leader.
Pre-election polls showed Salvador Sanchez Ceren from the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) comfortably ahead of right-wing candidate Norman Quijano, 67, mayor of the capital city San Salvador. Voting began at 1300 GMT.
Sanchez Ceren, 69, is El Salvador’s second in command to outgoing President Mauricio Funes.
A former teacher and ex-education minister, Sanchez Ceren was one of five top guerrilla commanders during El Salvador’s bitter 1979-92 civil war, which pitted the FMLN against the US-backed conservative government.
The FMLN fell just shy of an outright victory in a first round vote last month, but polls now give Sanchez Ceren an advantage of between 10 and 18 points.
Quijano, meanwhile, is a law and order candidate who campaigns against the country’s high crime rate and the notorious “mara” street gangs behind much of El Salvador’s drug dealing and extortion.
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