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Election win for Ecuador's Correa

2 May 09 23:40 GMT

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa has won a second term in office after April's poll, election officials have announced.

With almost 90% of ballots counted, Mr Correa had 51.8% of the vote, 23 points ahead of main rival Lucio Gutierrez.

Mr Gutierrez, an ex-president, said the polls were flawed, a charge rejected by European election observers.

Mr Correa's win means there will be no second round run-off vote in Ecuador for the first time in 30 years.

The left-leaning president first took office in January 2007.

Since then, he has won a following through increased social spending and talking tough to the foreign investors many Ecuadoreans feel are exploiting their country.

But his opponents accuse him of riding roughshod over the country's democratic institutions by backing the adoption of a new constitution in a popular vote last September.

Among other things, the constitution increased state controls on private industry and land and allowed Mr Correa to run for re-election.

About 10.5 million people were eligible to vote in the 26 April election. Mr Correa needed more than 40% of the vote to avoid a run-off with the second place candidate.

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