The campaign for February's presidential elections in El Salvador began Tuesday without a clear favorite.

The president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, Eugenio Chicas, kicked off the beginning of the campaign period with "a call to the political parties to run a campaign of quality, proposals and respect."

The campaign will run from Tuesday through Jan. 29, three days before the Feb. 2, balloting.

Chicas insisted that the campaign be one "in which proposals for the solution of national problems be on the table."

The three main presidential candidates will have to accelerate their campaigns, given that surveys published in recent months indicate that none of them has the 50 percent support among voters needed to avoid a runoff.

Some polls give the advantage to Vice President Salvador Sanchez Ceran, the candidate of the governing leftist FMLN, and others to Norman Quijano of the right-wing ARENA.

In third place is former President Elias Antonio Saca, the candidate of the Unity coalition of three minority rightist parties.

All three hopefuls have made several trips to the United States seeking the votes of Salvadoran emigrants, who in this presidential election may vote from abroad via absentee ballot.

The winner of the presidential election will succeed Mauricio Funes for the 2014-2019 term.

Some 4.96 million Salvadorans are registered to vote in the upcoming balloting. EFE