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Ecuador's Correa claims victory in presidential poll


08:26, February 18, 2013

QUITO, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- President Rafael Correa won in the first-round of Ecuador's presidential poll on Sunday, according to two exit polls giving him around 60 percent of the vote, released as polls closed in the general elections.

National Electoral Council (CNE) is expected to announce the preliminary results at 19:30 local time (0030 GMT Monday).

Correa, Ecuador's socialist president since 2007, obtained the majority of the votes, followed by center-right candidate former banker Guillermo Lasso, who had obtained 23.1 percent, according to exit polls.

Third place is occupied by former president Lucio Gutierrez, with 5.5 percent, followed by banana magnate Alvaro Noboa with 3.6 percent and Mauricio Rodas with 3.3 percent.

About 11.7 million Ecuadorians were called on to vote in Sunday 's presidential and legislative elections.

Correa received the exit polls' results accompanied by his family and his cabinet at Palacio de Carondelet, seat of the Ecuadorian government in Quito.

"Today I am most committed than ever. We can't take a single step backwards. We have the immense trust of the people to definitely change the Fatherland. May God reward you, the victory is from each and every one of you," said Correa to his followers who effusively cheered him when he went out to speak to the people from a balcony in Carondelet.

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