[Marxism] Leftist Declares Victory In El Salvador
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Mon Mar 16 06:56:36 MDT 2009
Leftist Declares Victory In El Salvador Election
By William Booth
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, March 16, 2009; A11
MIAMI, March 16 -- Mauricio Funes, a former TV newsman who was recruited
to run for president, declared himself the winner of El Salvador's
presidential contest Sunday night, bringing into power a leftist party
built by former guerrillas and ending two decades of conservative rule.
Funes, a dynamic speaker and political outsider who compares himself to
President Obama and pledged to be an agent of change in the small
Central American nation, was leading the polls late Sunday night with
51.2 percent of the vote and more than 90 percent of the ballots
counted. Turnout was high and election day was mostly calm.
If the lead holds, Funes and the Farabundo Marti National Liberation
Front (FMLN) will take control of a nation struggling with an economic
crisis and a murder rate that is among the highest in the world. The
country has also suffered through 12 years of civil war, which left more
than 70,000 people dead.
Funes's opponent, former National Police chief Rodrigo Ávila, who
represented the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA), was trailing
with 48.7 percent of the vote. Ávila conceded defeat, telling
supporters, "We will be a constructive opposition."
During a rough campaign season, Ávila insisted that a win for Funes and
the FMLN would transform El Salvador into a hard-left satellite state of
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Ávila further warned that Funes would
turn El Salvador away from the United States. The two countries have
traditionally shared close relations. More than 2 million El Salvadorans
live in the United States, and thousands traveled home to vote in the
Funes promised to create a broad government composed of FMLN members and
outsiders like himself. He said he sought a close working relationship
with the United States and vowed to champion the cause of El Salvador's
poor. "This is the happiest night of my life, and I want it to be the
night of El Salvador's greatest hope," he said. "I want to thank all the
people who voted for me and chose that path of hope and change."
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