El Salvador's left-wing presidential candidate, Salvador Sánchez Cerén, for the Farabundo Marti Front for National Liberation (FMLN), won 49 percent of the vote, just short of the majority needed to secure victory in the country's election in early February. The next round isn't expected to be an easy win.
Sánchez Cerén, a former left-wing guerrilla commander had a strong lead in El Salvador's presidential election and heads into a run-off vote well positioned to defeat a conservative rival who wants to fight powerful street gangs with the army. Norman Quijano, the conservative National Republican Alliance (ARENA) party candidate and mayor of San Salvador, came in second with 39 percent of the vote, a much wider gap than polls previously predicted.
Yet Sánchez Cerén is not assured a victory in the runoff election against Mr. Quijano. A third party candidate, Antonio Saca, a former president and ARENA member who ran under his newly founded Unity party, may have been siphoning off votes from the right in the first round of elections.