Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part One)

Read more

ENCORE!

The French Maestro of Soul

Read more

FOCUS

US tobacco giants want lion's share of e-cigarette business

Read more

ENCORE!

Bold and bonkers: Kate Bush is back on stage

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Simon Serfaty, US foreign policy specialist

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'It's a War, Stupid!'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

French PM calls on ECB to go further to help economy

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'I love the Socialists'

Read more

WEB NEWS

Ukraine: Web users call for international assistance

Read more

  • Ukrainian forces retreat from Luhansk airport after clashes

    Read more

  • Teddy Riner, France’s unstoppable judo champion

    Read more

  • French education ministry picture sparks racist abuse

    Read more

  • French police arrest hungry hedgehog hunters

    Read more

  • US urges Israel to reverse West Bank land seizure

    Read more

  • UN backs inquiry of IS group’s alleged crimes in Iraq

    Read more

  • Tripoli under control of militias, says government

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces free Amerli in biggest victory over IS militants since June

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao set for Man Utd loan on transfer deadline day

    Read more

  • Spain orders custody for parents of ill British boy

    Read more

  • Anti-government protesters storm Pakistan's state TV

    Read more

  • Putin calls for talks on 'statehood' for east Ukraine

    Read more

  • Poland marks 75 years since German invasion of WWII

    Read more

  • Israel appropriates large tracts of West Bank land

    Read more

  • Rescue efforts under way after French apartment block blast

    Read more

  • Web doc on French self-immolation protests takes top prize

    Read more

Leftist Salvadoran ex-rebels claim lead in vote

Video by Florence VILLEMINOT

Latest update : 2009-01-19

The ex-rebel Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front claimed "historic" successes Monday in El Salvador's legislative and municipal elections, with its spokesman saying the leftist party will now be the country's "leading political force".

AFP - Former leftist rebels claimed "historic" successes Monday in El Salvador's legislative and municipal elections, saying they will now become "the leading political force".
  
While the official vote count remained at an early stage, Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) spokesman Sigrido Reyes told AFP: "We have achieved historic voting results in both parliamentary and mayoral elections."
  
The Supreme Electoral Tribunal said that with just over 50 percent of the ballots counted from Sunday's election, the front had taken the lead in the parliamentary vote with 489,030 ballots versus 437,561 for the right-wing National Republican Alliance (ARENA).
  
Reyes said the FMLN had won mayoral races in at least 85 out of 262 cities and towns.
  
However, the left appeared to have suffered a setback in the capital San Salvador after Norman Quijano, an ARENA candidate, claimed victory in the mayoral election.
  
Some 4.2 million people were elegible to vote for 84 lawmakers, 20 members of the Central American Parliament and 262 municipal councils, in elections ahead of presidential polls in March in which leftist candidate Mauricio Funes is the favorite.
  
But only half of them actually took part, election officials said.
  
The FMLN is the former coalition of Marxist guerrillas that battled the government during a 12-year civil war in which some 75,000 people died.
  
The war, poverty, and a string of natural disasters -- including Hurricane Mitch in 1998 -- left their mark on one of the most violent countries in the Americas, notorious for "maras" street gangs.
  
No party has held a parliamentary majority in the past 19 years, but by forming alliances ARENA has dominated decision-making.
  
The FMLN currently has two fewer seats than ARENA in the single-chamber national assembly.
  
The former leftist rebels have "great possibilities" of winning the presidential elections, according to the Jesuit Central American University.
  
"Salvadorans, according to polls, are becoming more critical, have weighed up the current situation of the country, with a sick economy, few jobs and crime," said rector Jose Maria Tojeira.
  
Some 17,000 police and 2,000 election observers were deployed around the country, to ensure that the balloting remained violence and trouble-free.
  
Despite a 39 minute delay in the opening of the polls, observer missions from the Organization of American States and the European Union reported only very minor problems.
  
Salvadorans return to the polls on March 15 to elect a new president and vice president for the next five years.
  
The results in Sunday's vote and the presidential race will likely have an impact on relations with the United States, which was strongly involved in the 1980-1992 civil war, backing the right-wing government against the rebels.
  
The economy also depends heavily on the money sent home by hundreds of thousands of US-based Salvadorans.

Date created : 2009-01-19

COMMENT(S)