The FMLN might have improved its chances of winning the 2014 presidential election had it chosen Ortiz to lead the ticket. Instead, the party chose someone with whom it is more comfortable with as president. Fortunately for the FMLN, developments in the United States, Colombia, Venezuela and within the Salvadoran right might have done enough to overcome its selection of a weaker candidate.I argue that regional developments are giving the FMLN needed momentum. In the past, the Salvadoran right (and many in the US) have warned the Salvadoran people about the consequences of voting for the FMLN. Their relatives will lose temporary protected status or their remittances will be taxed. Obama's reelection and the possibility of immigration reforms make these threats less credible.
In 2009, the press and right-wing linked FMLN militants to the FARC and drug trafficking. The FARC is now negotiating a political settlement. The press and right-wing warned about what would happen because of the FMLN's ties with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. He hasn't been seen in nearly two months and even if he should he return to power, he's not likely to garner the same hate/love.
But it's not just all foreign developments. The gang truce has held for nearly one year. In prior elections, the right used mano dura to attract votes. There's fighting within ARENA and Saca's candidacy might take some votes away from ARENA's candidate.
Had the FMLN chosen Ortiz, I think that the FMLN would have held a strong lead over ARENA's Quijano. However, they are not just interested in winning but governing.
Winning is more difficult with Sanchez Ceren, but governing will be much more in line with their historic project.