Polls Open In El Salvador Presidential Election

Voters in El Salvador are electing a new president Sunday. The former Marxist guerrillas — or the FMLN, as they're known — have put forward a relatively young journalist, Mauricio Funes, as their candidate. He's running against the former head of the national police, Rodrigo Ávila, of the ruling, right-wing ARENA party.

If Funes wins, it could swing a staunch, conservative ally of the U.S. in Central America to the left.

El Salvador Vote Could Swing U.S. Ally To Left

Polls have opened in El Salvador for the Central American nation's presidential election.

The leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, or FMLN, is challenging the ruling conservative ARENA party for power. And for the first time since the end of El Salvador's civil war in 1992, the FMLN has a chance of winning.

Mauricio Funes, a relatively young journalist, is the FMLN candidate. He's up against the former head of the national police, Rodrigo Avila of the conservative ARENA party.

El Salvador has close ties to the United States. Under ARENA's leadership, it was the Bush administration's staunchest ally in Latin America. Roughly a quarter of the country's 7 million people live and work in the U.S. Money sent home rivals exports as El Salvador's largest source of income.

If Funes and the FMLN win the presidency, it would be the first left-wing government to come to power in El Salvador's history.

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