El Salvador vote counting under way

El Salvador electoral officials counting ballots Vote counting started soon after the closing of the polls in El Salvador

Related Stories

El Salvador's left-wing presidential candidate Salvador Sanchez Ceren, from the FMLN party, is leading the polls with more than 50% of votes counted.

The current vice-president has more than 49% of the votes, but is still short of the 50% plus one needed to avoid a run-off election.

Trailing more than ten points behind is the right-wing opposition candidate Norman Quijano, from the Arena party.

Former President Antonio Saca, is trailing with 11%.

The campaign has been dominated by the sluggish economy and gang crime.

El Salvador's murder rate is among the highest in the world.

Correspondents say there are signs that a recent truce agreed between the two main street gangs is falling apart.

Mr Sanchez Ceren. 69, was a rebel commander when the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) was a guerrilla group during the 1980-1992 civil war.

He has promised to tackle crime through education and social programmes.

Candidates have clashed on how to deal with gangs, as Will Grant reports

Opinion polls suggest he had a lead over Mr Quijano, who stood down from his position of mayor of San Salvador to stand for president.

Many voters are critical of the 2012 truce with gangs, and Mr Quijano has accused the administration of outgoing President Mauricio Funes of negotiating with criminals. He is advocating tougher policies against drug gangs.

The truce has led to a decrease in El Salvador's murder rate, but gradually the number of killings is going back up.

Election posters in San Salvador, 31 January The three-way race may lead to a run-off vote

Analysts say the vote may hinge on the popularity of the third candidate, former President Antonio Saca who is running for the new Unidad party.

The second round of voting, if needed, is to be held on 9 March.

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Latin America & Caribbean stories



  • Firth of Forth bridgeWhat came Firth?

    How the Forth was crossed before the famous bridge

  • Petrol pumpPumping up

    Why are petrol prices rising again?

  • Image of George from Tube CrushTube crush

    How London's male commuters set Chinese hearts racing

  • Elderly manSuicide decline

    The number of old people killing themselves has fallen. Why?

  • TricycleTreasure trove

    The lost property shop stuffed with diamonds, bikes... and a leg

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.