A supporter of Norman Quijano shouts during a protest regarding alleged electoral fraud in San Salvador
Henry Romero  /  REUTERS
A supporter of Norman Quijano, presidential candidate of the conservative Nationalist Republican Alliance party (ARENA), shouts as others carry placards during a protest regarding alleged electoral fraud near the Supreme Electoral Court in San Salvador March 11, 2014. REUTERS/Henry Romero
updated 3/11/2014 9:54:07 PM ET 2014-03-12T01:54:07

SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) - The runner-up in El Salvador's presidential election said on Tuesday he was asking the country's electoral tribunal to annul the tight contest after refusing to accept the outcome.

"We're going ahead and presenting a motion to have the elections on March 9 annulled," Norman Quijano, candidate of the right wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (Arena), told reporters in San Salvador as squabbling over the vote continued.

On Sunday Quijano finished 0.22 percentage points, or less than 7,000 votes, behind Salvador Sanchez Ceren of the ruling leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), a former commander of rebel forces in El Salvador's civil war.

Claiming 75,000 lives, the 1980-1992 conflict pitted an alliance of leftist insurgents against a string of U.S.-backed right wing governments and left the country deeply divided.

Sanchez Ceren would be the first rebel leader to become president if the election results are confirmed later this week.

The electoral tribunal called the outcome "irreversible" on Monday, but Quijano declared himself the real winner and the spat has raised concerns of a protracted dispute in El Salvador.

(Reporting by Nelson Renteria and Michael O'Boyle; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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