From the New York Times' El Salvador’s Presidential Election Close at the Wire by Elisabeth Malkin
The party “is more pragmatic in that they have had five years in power,” said Michael Allison, an expert on Central America at the University of Scranton.
On security, Mr. Sánchez Cerén sidestepped the most contentious issue, a truce between street gangs that has reduced El Salvador’s murder rate.
Under the 2012 truce, which the government does not openly support, gang leaders have won better prison conditions and ordered gang members to stop killing one another. But El Salvador’s murder rate is still one of the highest in the world while extortion continues unabated.
Mr. Quijano, 67, has condemned the truce, arguing that the government has negotiated away the legitimacy of the state, Mr. Allison said.
Under Mr. Funes, El Salvador has had generally good relations with Washington, although both Congress and the administration have pushed the government to crack down more effectively on organized crime, drug trafficking and corruption.
As many as two million Salvadorans live outside the country, most of them in the United States; they sent an estimated $4.2 billion back to relatives last year.
Security was uppermost on voters’ minds, regardless of whom they voted for.And from Seth Robbins in El Salvadorans wait anxiously amid razor-thin election results for the Christian Science Monitor's
The tight race came as a surprise to most election observers, as polls had predicted a comfortable victory for Sánchez-Cerén, who won the first round by 10 percentage points. Mike Allison, a Central America expert at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, pointed out that both parties drew more voters to the polls in the second round, but that ARENA was able to add more than 400,000 voters to its initial rank of supporters.
“The FMLN might have peaked,” Mr. Allison says.
The reasons for the reversal in the FMLN’s fortunes, analysts speculated, could stem from a concentrated voter turnout effort by ARENA after lackluster results in the first round. The FMLN also had to overcome a sluggish economy, attempts by ARENA to link it to unrest in Venezuela, and an unpopular truce that members of the current government tacitly endorsed between two large and dangerous street gangs, the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18. In recent months, the truce has unraveled and murders have risen sharply.Finally, I'm not in this but this El Faro editorial looks pretty popular - Un país dividido. It's not that I reject everything that they say but Quijano's call for the armed forces to protect the country from fraud goes well beyond anything than the FMLN did. Calling both sides "irresponsible" isn't entirely fair.
The second problem that I have with the editorial is that it looks like it is calling on the eventual winner, in all likelihood the FMLN, to work with the opposition (ARENA) and the 49% of the population who didn't vote for them. Does anyone think that ARENA would have responded by looking to share power with the FMLN just because it was a close election?
“The men and women of El Salvador are the ones who decide, and if you don’t accept the result, you are violating the will of the people,” Sanchez Ceren said. “I say to my adversary, to his party, that my administration will welcome them with open arms, so that together we can build a new country.”Just try and picture these words coming out of Norman Quijano's mouth.