Provisional results show no candidate won the required absolute majority in El Salvador's presidential election, though the TSE electoral board has yet to officially announce a runoff between the top two finishers in the five-person field.
With 99.16 percent of Sunday's ballots counted, Salvador Sanchez Ceren, the candidate of the ruling leftist FMLN, has 48.92 percent of the vote, compared with 38.95 percent for Norman Quijano of the main opposition right-wing ARENA party.
Former President Elias Antonio Saca, who governed from 2004-2009 as a member of ARENA but was subsequently expelled from the party, garnered 11.44 percent of the vote.
Neither of the other two hopefuls reached 1 percent.
"The FMLN is open" to making alliances heading into the runoff, Sanchez Ceren told the press Monday, adding that Saca congratulated him by telephone on his first-place finish, at the same time that the two campaigns are in conversations about a possible agreement with an eye on the runoff.
Both Sanchez Ceren and Quijano acknowledged regarding the runoff that their objective is to attract the voters who supported Saca.
On that subject, Quijano remarked that in his party "the door is not closed to anyone" and said that ARENA had already had "chats at the grassroots level" with sectors of the movement that supported Saca.
The TSE is scheduled on Tuesday to begin the definitive tabulation of the votes.
More than 4.9 million Salvadorans were eligible to vote in the election to choose the new president for the 2014-2019 term. The TSE estimated that turnout was around 53 percent. EFE