A former Marxist guerrilla leader looks poised to win El Salvador’s presidential election runoff on Sunday as voters embrace his ruling party’s social programs despite opposition allegations that he plans to veer the country to the radical left. Polls show Salvador Sanchez Ceren, a top leader of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) rebel army during the country’s 1980-92 civil war, with about 55 percent support ahead of the runoff vote, enough to secure his party a second consecutive term. His opponent Norman Quijano, the conservative former mayor of the capital, San Salvador, trails with about 45 percent amid waning support for his right-wing Arena party. Quijano has warned the ex-rebel will move El Salvador to the radical left and bow to the influence of Latin America’s leading U.S. antagonist, socialist-led Venezuela.
Sanchez Ceren, an affable but media-shy 69-year-old, denies those claims and has courted the vote of moderate conservatives who have broken with Arena.
He is also promising to expand social programs, such as free school supplies and pensions for the elderly, that have won support among the poor.
“We will dedicate all our energy, all the experience we have accumulated fighting for the people for so long, and we will put it all to work to deepen these changes,” Sanchez Ceren said on Sunday at a rally before thousands of supporters waving red flags.
Full Article: Ex-guerrilla closes in on El Salvador election win | Reuters.