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  April 27, 2009

"Avenger against oligarchy" wins in Ecuador


Ecuador's President Rafael Correa on Sunday declared victory in the country's presidential elections
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VOICEOVER: Ecuador's President Rafael Correa on Sunday declared victory in the country's presidential elections, in an apparently easy re-election. Three separate exit polls say he won well over half the vote in an eight-candidate field, which would make Correa the first president elected without a runoff in traditionally unstable Ecuador in 30 years.

Correa and his closest advisers danced and sang with their fists held high when the exit polls were announced on Sunday just moments after the voting ended.

RAFAEL CORREA, ECUADOR PRESIDENT (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): "We have made history in a country which from 1996 to 2006, a democratic government was never able to finish its term. We had 7 presidents and today we have won in the first round - that is something historical," Correra told supporters.

VOICEOVER: Exit polls done for state TV and two independent TV channels gave Correa at least 54 percent of the vote, with former president and Lucio Gutierrez second. International observers reported no serious irregularities in the voting on Sunday. The 46-year-old Correa has a phd in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana. He took office in January 2007, promising to rid Ecuador of a traditionally corrupt political class. In his inaugural address on January 15, 2007, Correa stated that part of Ecuador's external debt is illegitimate, because it was contracted by military regimes. He also denounced the "so-called Washington Consensus. Correa has threatened to default on Ecuador's foreign debt, and to suspend review of the country's economy by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. On April 26, 2007, he ordered the expulsion from Ecuador of the World Bank's country manager. Mr Correa has also rejected a free trade agreement with Washington and has said he will not renew a treaty, which allows the US to use an air base on the Pacific coast. Since taking office in January 2007, he tripled state spending on education and health care, doubled to 30 dollars a monthly payment for single mothers and launched subsidy programs for small farmers and people building their own homes. Political scientist Pablo Andrade, quoted in the Christian Oligarchy said:

PABLO ANDRADE, POLITICAL SCIENTIST (SUBTITILED TRANSLATION): "The lower classes feel vindicated, as Correa has proven to be a good avenger against the oligarchy."

VOICEOVER: Andrade went on to say:

PABLO ANDRADE, POLITICAL SCIENTIST (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): "The meaning of the left is not clear in Ecuador, but it is the reaction against neoliberalism that has built up over the last 50 years."

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