Correa gets wide margin in his re-election effort

Ecuador’s leftist president, Rafael Correa, swept to re-election victory Sunday, winning a third term by a wide margin.

Correa won 57 percent of the vote compared with 24 percent for his closest challenger, former banker Guillermo Lasso, with just over one-third of the ballots counted. The electoral authority said it did not expect the results to change significantly.

Lasso conceded defeat shortly after the results were announced. Former president Lucio Gutiérrez won 5.9 percent. The rest of the vote was divided among five other candidates.

The 48-year-old Correa hugged jubilant supporters at the presidential palace less than an hour after polls closed Sunday.

He was first elected in 2006, and has raised living standards for the lower classes and widened their social safety net with region-leading social spending. But the socialist leader has been criticized as a bully who is intolerant of dissent.

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