Salvadorans went to the polls on Sunday, March 9 to vote in a run-off presidential election, but results are so close that both candidates have declared themselves winners and the Supreme Electoral Tribunal has announced that they will do a complete recount in the coming days. In a report about election day, Tim's El Salvador Blog explains:
In El Salvador's presidential election on Sunday, the preliminary victor is Salvador Sánchez Cerén of the left-wing FMLN [Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front], but by the slightest of margins, and with a final count of the votes yet to come. Preliminary results are released on the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (“TSE”) website very quickly after the votes are counted at polling places. Five hours after the polls were closed, 99.8% of the votes had been counted and Salvador Sánchez Cerén of the FMLN had a very slight 6264 vote lead out of almost 3 million votes cast.
The TSE website [es] still shows Salvador Sanchez Ceren with a small lead over conservative candidate Norman Quijano from the ARENA (Nationalist Republican Alliance) party.
There was no doubt that ARENA had pulled off a major turnaround in just 5 weeks from its poor showing in the February 2 first round where Norman Quijano trailed Sánchez Cerén by 10 points, and in opinion polls in the past few weeks trailed by 13 to 18 percentage points. Quijano managed to poll 437,000 more votes than he received on February 2, an increase of more than 40%. In contrast, Sánchez Cerén only increased his vote total by 175,000 votes.