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Ex-guerrilla leader ahead in El Salvador run-off vote

Published on Mar 9, 2014 4:11 PM

SAN SALVADOR (AFP) - A former guerrilla commander is favoured to win El Salvador's presidential run-off vote on Sunday and be tasked with cutting rampant crime and poverty in the Central American country.

Pre-election polls show Mr Salvador Sanchez Ceren from the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) - which fought United States-backed governments in a bitter 1979 to 1992 civil war - comfortably ahead of San Salvador Mayor Norman Quijano of the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (Arena).

The conservatives were in power for two decades until 2009, when Salvadorans elected their first leftist government and former journalist Mauricio Funes from the FMLN became president.

Mr Sanchez Ceren, 69, is a teacher by profession and the country's current vice president. He is also a former education minister, and was one of five top guerrilla commanders during the civil war.

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