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Ex-guerrilla declared new president of El Salvador

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador--El Salvador's Supreme Electoral Court has declared an ex-guerrilla from the country's civil war the president-elect after a tight, contested runoff.

The court late Sunday also rejected a petition by the losing National Republican Alliance to annul the results of the March 9 vote because of electoral fraud.

Salvador Sanchez Ceren, 69, of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, will take office June 1 and serve a five-year term.

He will be the first former rebel commander to win the presidency of a nation where 76,000 died in a civil war.

With about 3 million ballots cast, Sanchez Ceren defeated ARENA candidate Norman Quijano by little more than 6,300 votes.

A campaign comparing El Salvador's left to Venezuela's ruling socialist bloc brought Quijano from far behind to a near tie.

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