Monday Mar 12, 201205:58 AM GMT
Right-wing opposition party takes narrow lead in El Salvador elections
A woman casts her vote at a polling station in the town of Panchimalco, 12 km south of capital San Salvador, El Salvador, March 11, 2012.
Mon Mar 12, 2012 5:57AM
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Early results from El Salvador’s general elections show that the country’s right-wing opposition party, the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA), has taken an early narrow lead.

El Salvador’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal said on Monday that the ARENA has managed to gain almost 39.8 percent of the votes with nearly six percent of precincts reporting.

The ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) with 34.3 percent is closely following.

The ARENA has pledged a tougher stance against crime and youth gangs, while the Farabundo Marti Liberation Front says it will focus on unemployment.

Conservative coalition GANA, led by ex-president Elias Antonio Saca and a congressional ally of the FMLN, stood third with 12.1 percent of the votes.

Six smaller parties have also run in the legislative and municipal elections, but the FMLN and the ARENA are by far the biggest rivals in the race.

The voting is believed to be a major test for the leftist government of President Mauricio Funes in the Central American country.

Analysts say that the victory of the opposition in the elections would curb Funes’ efforts in implementing his social pledges and programs. Funes’s presidential term will end in two years.

On Sunday, about 4.5 million Salvadorans elected the 84 members of the unicameral legislature and as well as the mayors of 262 towns and cities.

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