Last Thursday, we previewed elections in Antigua and El Salvador. Well, the results are in.
Left-wing candidate and former journalist Mauricio Funes won the presidency of El Salvador in yesterday's election. He defeated his right-wing opponent, Rodrigo Avila, who is a former deputy director of the national police.
Victory followed some dirty campaign ads that featured doctored photographs and a doughnut-eating cop from The Simpsons.
The election is a culmination of a political struggle between the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), a former guerrilla movement turned leftist political party, and the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA), which has held the presidency since 1989. ARENA first came to power in the midst of El Salvador's civil war, which lasted a dozen years until 1992.
Avila, as ARENA's candidate, was very much in the party mold. Funes, on the other hand, represents an attempt to reach beyond the FMLN's revolutionary origins. He is a longtime broadcast journalist known for his independence in a country and a region where journalism is traditionally a partisan affair.
In Antigua, the ruling United Progressive Party saw its parliamentary majority shrink but remained in power with Baldwin Spencer as prime minister. The election was overshadowed by fallout from the collapse of Allen Stanford's financial empire. Stanford stands accused of running an $8 billion Ponzi scheme from a bank he owned on the island. Stanford was the largest investor and employer in Antigua.