SAN SALVADOR – Salvador Sanchez Ceren, the candidate of El Salvador’s ruling leftist FMLN, won last weekend’s presidential runoff, according to the TSE electoral tribunal, which said it will delay proclaiming him president-elect pending the resolution of challenges.
With all 10,445 precinct tallies totaled, Sanchez Ceren has emerged with 50.11 percent, compared with 49.89 percent for Norman Quijano of the main opposition right-wing ARENA party, a difference of 6,364 votes out of nearly 1.5 million ballots cast on Sunday.
However, the TSE still has not officially declared Sanchez Ceren to be the winner because first it must resolve at least six complaints filed about various aspects of the process.
After the result of the final count was made known lawmakers and leaders of the FMLN celebrated the ratification of the victory with shouts, songs and embraces in the TSE computer center set up in a San Salvador hotel.
The FMLN is scheduled to celebrate the victory next Saturday on a plaza in the Salvadoran capital, party spokesman Roberto Lorenzana said on Twitter.
Sanchez Ceren, the current vice president and former guerrilla commander during El Salvador’s 1980-1992 civil war, took 48.92 percent of the vote in the first round of voting on Feb. 2, while Quijano got 38.95 percent.
Quijano insists he won the second round and is crying fraud.
ARENA staged peaceful protest marches on Tuesday and Wednesday to demand a “vote by vote” recount, which the TSE rejected because the election law only permits that in exceptional circumstances.
The new president will take office on June 1 for the 2014-2019 term.