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Voting Ends in El Salvador


The polls have closed in El Salvador, where voters have been choosing their next president. Initial results are expected later Sunday.

The election outcome could end two decades of conservative rule in the crime-plagued Central American country.

El Salvador's former guerrillas could take power for the first time since a civil war that ended in 1992. Their candidate, left-leaning Mauricio Funes, is in a race against Rodrigo Avila, a conservative former police chief.

Funes is a former television journalist and representative of the former rebel group Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front. If he wins, El Salvador would join a growing number of left-leaning governments in Latin America.

Avila represents the National Republican Alliance, also known as the ARENA party, which has had control of the government for the past 20 years.

The Associated Press says voting ended peacefully.

Incumbent President Elias Antonio Saca is barred from seeking another five-year term.

Four million Salvadorans were eligible to vote. The country is wracked by poverty, and many people depend heavily on remittances from family members working in the United States.

El Salvador has been under conservative rule since the end of the civil war. The 12-year conflict involved the government and both leftist and right-wing guerrillas. Some 75,000 people died in the conflict before it ended with the signing of peace accords.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.


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