It was the closest of elections, and one that with the slightest of variation could have led the country of El Salvador in a completely different direction.
The two candidates were opposed in almost every sense: one a former guerrilla commander and socialist; the other a hard-line conservative with a penchant for threatening military action.
At a final ballot count, a nationwide population of well over 6 million had their immediate social and political future decided by only 6,364 votes.
The narrow victor, and the man who will lead the country for the next five years, was the left-wing candidate and former Vice President, Salvador Sánchez Cerén, who, despite his delayed ascension to the head of state, was expected to attain victory by a much more comfortable margin.
Only three weeks before the result, pre-election polls showed Cerén’s FMLN party had a much clearer lead, with 60.3% of all valid votes in their favour – well above the opposition party, ARENA, lead by right-wing Norman Quijano, with 39.7%.
This preliminary poll was conducted between 15-18 February by Francisco Gavidia Univeristy in the capital San Salvador, showing distinctly broader margins. So how, in less than three weeks, did Quijano find around 600,000 voters ready to entirely change their allegiance from a party so thematically opposed?