El Salvador presidential runner-up wants vote annulled

SAN SALVADOR Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:14am EDT

1 of 3. A supporter of Norman Quijano, presidential candidate of the conservative Nationalist Republican Alliance party (ARENA), shouts as others carry placards during a protest regarding alleged electoral fraud near the Supreme Electoral Court in San Salvador March 11, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Henry Romero

Related Topics

SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) - The runner-up in El Salvador's presidential election asked the electoral tribunal on Tuesday to annul the tight contest and threatened to go to the Supreme Court if necessary.

Norman Quijano of the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (Arena) trailed Salvador Sanchez Ceren of the ruling leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front in Sunday's vote by 0.22 percentage points, or fewer than 7,000 votes.

On Tuesday, about 2,000 Quijano supporters waving red, white and blue Arena party flags marched to barricades in streets around the hotel where the tribunal is counting the votes.

"We cannot allow such a blatant fraud," said Prudencia Aparicio, a 25-year-old owner of a cake shop.

The tribunal is checking that records from polling stations match electronic tallies from a preliminary count on Sunday night, but not recounting individual votes.

It called the outcome "irreversible" on Monday, but Quijano declared himself the real winner, and the stand-off is raising concerns of a possibly protracted dispute.

"WE HAVE BEEN ROBBED"

After Arena filed a petition with the tribunal, Quijano said that he doubted the electoral authority would accept his challenge and that he would probably have to take his complaint to El Salvador's Supreme Court.

"We estimate that we have been robbed by between 30,000 and 40,000 votes," he told Reuters.

Arena demanded a vote-by-vote recount, a step that the tribunal said was not allowed under the country's electoral law.

Sanchez Ceren, a former commander of rebel forces in El Salvador's civil war, said on Monday that he expected he could be declared winner by Thursday, which would make him the first ex-rebel leader to become president.

The war claimed 75,000 lives and left the country deeply divided after leftist insurgents battled a string of U.S.-backed right-wing governments between 1980 and 1992.

Sanchez Ceren has promised to make a "national pact" with conservative parties and business owners, and to establish a moderate government.

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

Fernando Arguello, a member of the electoral court, said that the body was unlikely to declare a winner until Quijano's demand to annul the election had been resolved.

But, he said, "We can't wait much longer because the country doesn't deserve for this process to be drawn out."

(Additional reporting by Nelson Renteria and Michael O'Boyle; Editing by Louise Ireland)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (1)
So what.
Now for the important news: SpaceWeather.com — FRIDAY IS PI DAY: Mark your calendar. This Friday, March 14th (3.14), is day. It’s an occasion to celebrate one of the most compelling and mysterious constants of Nature. Pi appears in equations describing the orbits of planets, the colors of auroras, the structure of DNA. The value of is woven into the fabric of life, the universe and … everything.
Humans have struggled to calculate for thousands of years. Divide the circumference of a circle by its diameter; the ratio is . Sounds simple, but the devil is in the digits. While the value of is finite (a smidgen more than 3), the decimal number is infinitely long: 3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592307 and calculating.

MEANWHILE, there’s a GROWING CHANCE OF FLARES: Sunspot AR2002 poses a growing threat for solar flares. Since the week began, the active region has more than tripled in size. It now has more than a dozen dark cores and sprawls across 100,000 km of solar terrain.
The rapid growth of AR2002 has destabilized its magnetic field, which makes it more likely to erupt. NOAA forecasters estimate a 60% chance of M-class flares and a 10% chance of X-class flares during the next 24 hours.

Mar 11, 2014 10:08pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.