FACTBOX: Salvadoran President-elect Mauricio Funes

Mon Mar 16, 2009 3:24am EDT

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(Reuters) - Here are some facts about Mauricio Funes, who won El Salvador's presidential election for the left-wing Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, or FMLN, party founded by former Marxist rebels.

* Funes, 49, is a former TV journalist who hosted local news programs critical of past governments and appeared on CNN's Spanish-language channel. As the first FMLN presidential candidate without a rebel fighter background, he attracted some middle-ground voters wary of the FMLN's rebel warfare past.

* In his victory speech on Sunday, Funes urged unity and reconciliation with the right-wing ARENA party, which ruled for two decades after the end of the civil war and whose founder was closely associated with death squads during the conflict.

* Funes developed leftist sympathies reporting on the 1980-92 civil war, interviewing rebel leaders and grieving for a leftist brother killed in the conflict. Yet he says he is a center-leftist who admires Brazil's moderate president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. His wife is a Brazilian who represented Lula's Workers' Party in El Salvador.

* Funes ran on a platform of change and says he will fight tax evasion and use the funds to create jobs for Salvadoran immigrants returning from the United States. He also vows to invest in farming to reduce dependence on imported food.

* He says he wants to continue the close relations El Salvador has had with Washington, although opponents fear he could be a puppet leader with FMLN old-timers like Vice President-elect Salvador Sanchez pulling the strings.

(Reporting by Catherine Bremer and Alberto Barrera; Editing by Eric Beech)

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