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Leftist ex-guerrilla Sanchez Ceren finally declared El Salvador president

Elections officials in San Salvador have declared ex-guerrilla commander Salvador Sanchez Ceren the winner of a March 9 vote. They also rejected opposition calls for the election to be annulled.

El Salvador's Supreme Electoral Court on Sunday declared Salvador Sanchez Ceren, an ex-guerilla from the country's 1979-1992 civil war, to be the country's president-elect after rejecting the last opposition challenges to the results of a March 9 election.

The court confirmed that Sanchez Ceren, 69, of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN)

beat rival Norman Quijano, 67, of the conservative ARENA party by the razor-thin margin of 50.11 to 49.39.

The result, announced on Thursday following a partial recount, is the same as that announced immediately after the vote.

The court also rejected a demand by Quijano, the mayor of the capital, San Salvador, to annul the results of the runoff vote because of election fraud and hold a recount.

Sanchez Ceren will take office on June 1 for a five-year term.

He was one of the top military rebel commanders during El Salvador's civil conflict, in which some 76,000 people were killed.

It is the first time a former rebel commander has been elected to the presidency of El Salvador.

A former teacher, he later served as education minister and vice president under leftist President Mauricio Funes, who came to power in 2009, ending two decades of right-wing rule, mostly under ARENA.

tj/kms (AP, AFP)

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