September 23, 1998
Former Salvadoran rebel leader seeks candidacy

                  SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (Reuters) -- One of the top rebel leaders
                  of El Salvador's 12-year civil war said on Wednesday he would seek his
                  party's nomination for the country's 1999 presidential elections.

                  Facundo Guardado, a former commander with the Farabundo Marti
                  National Liberation Front (FMLN), said he would throw his hat in the ring at
                  the FMLN's convention on Sunday.

                  The FMLN turned itself into a political party after a 1992 peace accord
                  ended El Salvador's civil war. It is now the country's leading opposition to
                  the ruling right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA).

                  Guardado, now an FMLN political coordinator, will face strong competition
                  for the nomination from former Human Rights Attorney General, Victoria de

                  Aviles is supported by an FMLN faction dubbed "orthodox," which is
                  headed by veteran communist leader Shafick Handal.

                  Guardado is considered a "reformer" within the party and said he was
                  convinced he could beat ARENA candidate Francisco Flores in the March
                  1999 elections.

                  "I'm going to compete on my experience and the faith in changing El
                  Salvador," he told reporters.

                  Guardado enlisted another former rebel commander, Nidya Diaz, as his
                  vice-presidential running mate.

                   Copyright 1998 Reuters.