Right-wing candidate Rodrigo Avila conceded to Funes late last night after it appeared that Funes’ slim 2%-lead would not be overcome. Afterwards, Funes pledged to unite El Salvador after the divisive campaigns run be Avila and himself:
"This is the happiest night of my life, and I want it to be the night of El Salvador's greatest hope," Funes said. "I want to thank all the people who voted for me and chose that path of hope and change"…Funes would become El Salvador’s first leftist president since the country’s bitter civil war ended over two decades ago. El Salvador thus becomes the latest Latin American state with a leftist leader.
Funes promised to crack down on big businesses which he says exploit government complacency to evade taxes.
"The time has come for the excluded, the opportunity has arrived for genuine democrats, for men and women who believe in social justice and solidarity," he told a rally of roaring supporters early Monday.
(Despite talk of a "pink" tide, the region’s leftist leaders are not all cut from the same cloth. President in the region are populist (Hugo Chavez, Rafael Correa), moderate (Michelle Bachelet, Tab Vasquez), and centrist (Alan Garcia, Oscar Arias).)
Much like the 2008 presidential victory of Alvaro Colom in Guatemala, Funes’ electoral platform of social change appealed to Salvadorans more than Avila’s law-and-order rhetoric. Funes symbolized a “fresh face” for the guerillas-turned-political-party FMLN according to one analyst who also noted that he never fought with the rebels during the civil war.
Image- MSNBC (“Mauricio Funes of the Farbundo Marti National Liberation Front party delivers his victory speech in San Salvador Sunday night after winning the presidential election.”)
Online Sources- washingtonpost.com, BBC News, Al Jazeera English, Reuters, NPR, counterpunch.org