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FMLN win disputed El Salvador election

Army rules out intervening in the outcome of the election results, which are disputed by the losing opposition party.

Last updated: 14 Mar 2014 05:02
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El Salvador's presidential election has officially been won by Sanchez Ceren of the National Liberation Front (FMLN) party, amid accusations of fraud by the opposition.

With 100 percent of the vote returns officially compiled, the FMLN party won by a small margin in Sunday's vote, according to AFP news agency.

Norman Quijano, the candidate of the right-wing Nationalist Republic Alliance (Arena) has claimed widespread fraud was responsible for his loss, and appealed to the country's military for help. But the military's top commander has stated the armed forces will not intervene on his behalf.

We promise to wholeheartedly respect the sovereign decision of El Salvador, expressed in the polling booths

David Munguia, Defense Minister

Quijano also asked the country's election tribunal, which has called the outcome "irreversible," to annul the result, claiming widespread fraud and threatening to take his complaint to the Supreme Court if necessary, according to Reuters news agency.

"They know very well we've defeated them," Quijano told his supporters on Sunday. "Our armed forces are keeping an eye on this fraud. They can't play with the desires of the people, nor can they upend the foundations of our democracy. They can't steal the legitimate triumph from my nation."

No military intervention

But on Wednesday, Defence Minister General David Munguia ruled out the prospect of military intervention, saying the army would abide by the result, irrespective of the winner.

"We promise to wholeheartedly respect the sovereign decision of El Salvador, expressed in the polling booths," Munguia said. "In no way, at least on behalf of the armed forces, is a coup being plotted or any other conspiracy."

Quijano later sought to distance himself from his previous comments, saying he never meant to imply the army was planning an overthrow and was simply referring to the military's role in monitoring voting centres.

He has argued Ceren would steer the country to the far left and bow to the influence of socialist Venezuela.

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