Salvadoran leader swaps key ministers after election defeat

The president of El Salvador, Salvador Sanchez Ceren participates in a memorial ceremony the 36th anniversary ofEl Mozote Massacre, in the village of El Mozote in Meanguera, El Salvador, December 9, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas

SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) - El Salvador’s President Salvador Sanchez Ceren on Monday replaced the ministers of finance and the economy after the ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) suffered a historic defeat in elections at the start of the month.

The FMLN was trounced in legislative elections on March 4.

Preliminary results show the party led by former Marxist rebels suffered its biggest defeat since it first competed in polls in El Salvador, which has the slowest growing economy in Central America and is struggling with heavy debts.

The big winner of the election, according to the preliminary results, was the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance.

Sanchez Ceren said Finance Minister Carlos Caceres would be replaced by Nelson Fuentes, while Economy Minister Tharsis Salomon Lopez would make way for Luz Estrella Rodriguez.

“With the changes I am implementing, I aim to have a more executive and effective governing style with better results, in the spirit of how the population feels,” Sanchez Ceren told reporters.

The president also announced other changes including top officials responsible for communications and migration.

Reporting by Nelson Renteria; Editing by Tom Brown