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2nd re-election for Ecuador's Correa

President Rafael Correa, a fiery-tongued leftist who has endeared himself to the lower classes by expanding Ecuador's welfare state but drawn wide rebuke for intolerance of dissent, breezed to a second re-election on Sunday.

The U.S.-educated economist won 56.9 per cent of the vote against 23.8 per cent for his closest challenger, former banker Guillermo Lasso, with 57 per cent of the vote counted.

Correa, 48, called the outcome a victory for his "citizens' revolution," and promised to further reduce poverty, which the United Nations says has dropped nearly five percentage points to 32.4 per cent since he first took office in 2007.

"We are only here to serve you. Nothing for us. Everything for you," Correa told jubilant supporters from the balcony of the Carondelet presidential palace, celebrating long before official results were released.

Lasso, the ex-head of the Banco de Guayaquil, had run a business-friendly but relatively tame campaign, and conceded as first official results were released. Former President Lucio Gutierrez won 6 per cent. The rest of the vote was divided among five other candidates.

Correa has brought surprising stability to an oil-exporting nation of 14.6 million with a history of unruliness that cycled through seven presidents in the decade before him. With the help of oil prices that have hovered around $100 a barrel, he has raised living standards among the poor and widened the welfare state with region-leading social spending.

The Canadian Press


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