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El Salvador Votes

After a spirited electoral campaign that produced a record voter turnout, the people of El Salvador have elected a new president. The campaign marks the first peaceful transition of power from one party to another in decades, and the nation deserves the congratulations of the United States and all neighbors in the hemisphere.

With all polls reporting, Mauricio Funes of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, or FMLN, received 51.3% of the vote to 48.7% for Rodrigo Avila of the National Republican Alliance, known as the ARENA party.

Balloting was mostly calm and foreign observers said it was a free, fair and democratic election. After the results were tallied, Mr. Avila called for his supporters to respect the results, and Mr. Funes called for "a new spirit of national unity."

With historic ties, 2 million Salvadorans living here and trade relations through the Central American Free Trade Agreement, the U.S. has been a strong friend to El Salvador and looks forward to building a constructive relationship with the new administration in San Salvador. For his part, Mr. Funes has said he hopes to do the same with Washington.

El Salvador has set an example for democratic rule throughout Latin America.