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el salvador presidential elections

Former El Salvador’s left-wing rebel leader Salvador Sanchez Ceren has been sworn in as the country’s president.

Salvador Sanchez Ceren, 69, of the FMLN party, becomes the first former guerrilla to lead the Central American country following his March victory.

In his inauguration speech, he promised to fight corruption and violence, and to govern “for everybody”.

El Salvador remains violent and deeply divided despite the end of a civil war in which some 75,000 people died.

Salvador Sanchez Ceren has been sworn in as El Salvador’s president

Salvador Sanchez Ceren has been sworn in as El Salvador’s president

Salvador Sanchez Ceren narrowly defeated the conservative candidate Norman Quijano by 0.2% in a run-off vote on March 9.

Speaking at his inauguration ceremony in the capital, San Salvador, he pledged “to serve as president of all Salvadorans”.

Salvador Sanchez Ceren added he would lead “with honesty, austerity, efficacy and transparency” in a country with high levels of corruption.

Last month, a Salvadoran judge issued an arrest warrant for a former President, Francisco Flores, who is accused of using $10 million of public money for personal use. He denies any wrongdoing.

Salvador Sanchez Ceren also promised that “security, employment and education” would be the priorities of his government.

El Salvador has one of the highest murder rates in the world, a problem largely blamed on gang violence.

As a rebel leader, Salvador Sanchez Ceren fought US-backed government forces during the civil conflict in which tens of thousands of people also disappeared.

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Norman Quijano, the candidate of El Salvador opposition party, Arena, has accepted defeat in the presidential election held on March 9, after losing several appeals for a recount.

The Arena party says it will make “democratic, serious and honest” opposition to the new president, former rebel leader Salvador Sanchez Ceren.

Norman Quijano lost the vote by 0.22 percentage points.

El Salvador remains deeply divided 22 years after the end of its civil war.

Norman Quijano had complained that votes for the governing candidate were counted twice.

Norman Quijano has accepted defeat in the presidential election, after losing several appeals for a recount

Norman Quijano has accepted defeat in the presidential election, after losing several appeals for a recount

On Tuesday, the electoral court rejected Arena’s latest appeal for a vote-by-vote recount. In a statement, Arena says it was willing to work for the success of the country’s democracy.

“As proof of our democratic vocation and respect to the institutions, we accept the Supreme Court’s decision against a vote-by-vote recount,” read the statement.

“We will be watching the government and making sure it respects the law. But we will be the first ones to applaud their achievements.”

Salvador Sanchez Ceren, from the governing FMLN party, was widely expected to win the runoff vote by a comfortable margin, after getting very close to securing a first round win. But Norman Quijano made gains in the past weeks of the campaigns.

He made repeated comparisons between Salvador Sanchez Ceren and the left-wing Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, whose government has faced nearly two months of protests over inflation and crime.

Norman Quijano warned that economic chaos would follow in El Salvador if his rival won.

Slavador Sanchez Ceren campaigned as a moderate despite his past as an active guerrilla leader during El Salvador’s civil war (1980-1992). His party, the Farabundo Marti Liberation Front (FMLN), turned from a rebel group into a political party at the end of the conflict.

Since being declared the winner, Salvador Sanchez Ceren has made conciliatory remarks, inviting the opposition in his “efforts to rebuild El Salvador”.

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