Ex-Guerrillas Win El Salvador Election For the first time in El Salvador, a left-wing party has won the presidency. The Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front formed in 1980 as a band of Marxist guerrillas attempting to seize power. They spent 12 years fighting in the jungle and almost two decades in political opposition — and they finally accomplished their goal Sunday night.
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Ex-Guerrillas Win El Salvador Election

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Ex-Guerrillas Win El Salvador Election

Ex-Guerrillas Win El Salvador Election

Ex-Guerrillas Win El Salvador Election

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For the first time in El Salvador, a left-wing party has won the presidency. The Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front formed in 1980 as a band of Marxist guerrillas attempting to seize power. They spent 12 years fighting in the jungle and almost two decades in political opposition — and they finally accomplished their goal Sunday night.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, Host:

In El Salvador, the party of former Marxist rebels has won the presidency. Journalist Mauricio Funes defeated the candidate of the ruling ARENA Party. It's the first time a left-wing party has come to power in El Salvador. Funes will take over a country plagued by widespread poverty with promises to mind the country's polarized politics. NPR's Jason Beaubien reports from the capital San Salvador.

JASON BEAUBIEN: After it was announced that Funes had won, Jorge Imenez(ph), a former guerrilla, was crying tears of joy as he hugged two of his comrades.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

JORGE IMENEZ: (Foreign language spoken)

BEAUBIEN: But in the speech announcing his victory Funes said he'll provide secure and moderate change for El Salvador and he promised to work across the country's polarized politics.

MAURICIO FUNES: (Spanish language spoken)

BEAUBIEN: Unidentified Woman: (Foreign language spoken)

BEAUBIEN: Sixty-six-year-old Tomas Venaloa(ph) in a white ARENA polo shirt and matching white ARENA cowboy hat had just voted. Venaloa said a victory by Funes would turn El Salvador into a communist state.

TOMAS VENALOA: (Foreign language spoken)

BEAUBIEN: Jason Beaubien, NPR News, San Salvador.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WERTHEIMER: This is NPR News.

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