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Correa declares victory in Ecuador
Results mirror exit polls that puts Rafael Correa way ahead in the presidential race.
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2006 19:31 GMT


Correa (l) has pledged to construct 100,000 low-cost homes

Rafael Correa has declared himself the winner of Ecuador's presidential run-off election.
 
Although only slightly over half of the votes cast have been counted, Correa has already taken more than twice as many votes as Alvaro Noboa, his only rival.
 
Noboa has not admitted defeat and says he will await final results before conceding.
With 52.34 per cent of ballot boxes counted, Correa has received 67.03 per cent of the votes and Noboa 32.97 per cent.
 
The results however do not necessarily reflect a national trend as ballot box counts are first received from smaller provinces before the most populated areas.
However the results mirror earlier opinion polls that predicted a landslide win for Correa, a leftist candidate.
 
Final results are expected to be announced on Tuesday.

Victory speech

Correa, a US-trained economist and ally of Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's president, told supporters that we "accept this victory with dignity and humility".
 
At an earlier news conference in Quito, Correa said: "Thank God, we have triumphed. We are just instruments of the power of the people. This is a clear message that the people want change."

"We are just instruments of the power of the people. This is a clear message that the people want change"

Rafeal Correa

Feature: Left foot forward in Ecuador

He said he would keep his promise to carry out widespread reforms which include re-negotiating debt agreements, opposing a US free-trade pact and re-writing the constitution. 

"The people have given us a clear mandate, with the second largest margin in the last 30 years of democracy," he later told reporters in his tropical home city Guayaquil.

"We want a deep political reform."

However, Noboa, a billionaire banana magnate, rejected Sunday's early results, saying he would wait for the official count to end.

He said in a television interview: "I know in my interior that I won. The electoral tribunal will give the official figure once it has finished the vote count."

Citizens' revolution

Correa won a place in Sunday's run-off by pledging a "citizens' revolution" against the discredited country's political system.

Ecuadoreans have driven the last three elected presidents from power and Correa appealed to voters as a fresh face in a field of established politicians.

He has pledged to construct 100,000 low-cost homes and copied Noboa's promise to double to $36 a "poverty bonus" that 1.2 million poor Ecuadoreans receive each month.

Correa's election would add another member to South America's grouping of left-leaning nations, which already includes Venezuela, Chile, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay.

Source:
Agencies
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