Salvador ex-rebels claim victory; tally not final

A leftist television journalist claimed victory in El Salvador's presidential elections Sunday after a preliminary vote count showed him poised to lead a party of former guerrillas to power for the first time since a bloody civil war ended 17 years ago. Mauricio Funes, a moderate plucked from outside the ranks of the rebel group-turned-political party Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, appears likely to add to a string of leftist victories in Latin America at a time of uncertainty over how President Barack Obama will approach the region. With 90 percent of the vote counted late Sunday, Funes had 51 percent compared to 49 percent for Rodrigo Avila of the ruling conservative Arena party, said Walter Araujo, president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal. He did not proclaim a winner and said final results would be announced later this week.