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Last Updated: Friday, 13 October 2006, 10:41 GMT 11:41 UK
Ecuador candidates end campaigns
Rafael Correa, candidate
Mr Correa has vowed to challenge the political establishment
Campaigning has closed in Ecuador ahead of Sunday's presidential election in which 13 candidates are standing.

Three presidents in the past 10 years have been removed from office amid mass street protests.

Observers say none of the contenders is likely to win outright - a second round of voting would be held in November.

Correspondents say the campaign has been marked by voter disgust with the political elite, as unemployment and poverty levels remain high.

Voting is obligatory in Ecuador, but many people have told pollsters they are still undecided or planning to spoil their ballot papers.

Challenge

The frontrunner, left-wing candidate Rafael Correa, has said he is certain he has enough votes to win in the first round.

ECUADOR VOTES
Polling day 15 Oct
Possible run-off 26 Nov
Voting is obligatory
9.2 million registered voters
13 candidates
"We will do away with the lying oligarchy. We will take it in the first round, the first round," said Mr Correa, a former economy minister who has vowed to challenge the political establishment.

Other candidates, including his closest challenger Alvaro Noboa, have raised concerns about Mr Correa's ties with the Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez.

Mr Noboa - who is Ecuador's wealthiest man - says he is the country's biggest investor and is promising to create hundreds of thousands of jobs.

He has twice reached the presidential run-offs and been defeated both times.

The other two candidates who are thought to have a chance of making it to a run-off vote are:

  • Former Vice-President Leon Roldos, from the centre-left

  • Ex-TV presenter Cynthia Viteri, who is said to enjoy support among the business community

BBC South America correspondent Daniel Schweimler says the presidential campaigns have been marked by bold promises and angry name-calling.

But, he adds, in an oil-rich country in which more than half the population live in poverty, the biggest challenge has been trying to convince the people of Ecuador that this time they mean what they say.


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