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Leftist FMLN Candidate Mauricio Funes Wins El Salvador Presidential Election, Ending Two Decades of Conservative Rule
Monday, March 16, 2009 :In El Salvador, Mauricio Funes, of the former rebel FMLN party, has won the country's presidential election, ending two decades of conservative rule. Funes won 51 percent of the vote to 49 percent for Rodrigo Avila of the ruling right-wing ARENA party. Avila conceded defeat late Sunday. The FMLN was a coalition of rebel guerrillas who resisted the US-backed military government. More than 70,000 people died over an eighteen-year period, the overwhelming majority killed by military and paramilitary forces.
Funes is a former television journalist and is the first FMLN presidential candidate who is not a former combatant in the war. In his victory speech, he stressed his moderate policies during his campaign and says he intends to maintain good relations with the United States.
The Obama government has assured Salvadorans it would work with any leader elected, a departure from the Bush administration, which in 2004 threatened to cut off aid to El Salvador if the FMLN won.
Close U.S. ties saw El Salvador keep troops in Iraq longer than any other Latin American country with the last of its 6,000 soldiers returning last week. El Salvador had also become a hub of regional cooperation with Washington in the so-called drug war. The country’s economy depends on billions of dollars sent home by 2.5 million Salvadorans who live in the United States.
We go now to El Salvador to speak with Roberto Lovato. He is a Contributing Associate Editor with New America Media and a frequent contributor to the Nation magazine. He blogs at ofamerica.wordpress.com He met with President-elect Mauricio Funes last night and interviewed him.
Roberto Lovato, Contributing Associate Editor with New America Media and a frequent contributor to The Nation magazine. He blogs at ofamerica.wordpress.com . He met with President-elect Mauricio Funes last night and interviewed him.
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