A former Marxist rebel commander’s tiny lead in El Salvador’s presidential election is irreversible, the country’s electoral tribunal said on Monday, but his right-wing challenger demanded a full recount, insisting he was the real winner. Salvador Sanchez Ceren of the ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), which as a rebel group fought a string of U.S.-backed governments in the 1980-1992 civil war, claimed victory on Sunday after preliminary results showed he had won 50.11 percent support. Challenger Norman Quijano, a former mayor of San Salvador and candidate of the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (Arena) party, had 49.89 percent support. The two men were separated by just 6,634 votes.
Quijano said in a tweet on Monday that he wanted a “vote-by-vote” recount, calling the election tribunal biased and insisting that he was the president-elect.
“The behavior of the Supreme Election Tribunal has never been clean, they were tainted before and during the electoral process,” Quijano said.
He also asked the country’s attorney general to guard all electoral material and urged international observers to remain in El Salvador a few more days.