Exit polls suggest Ecuador’s incumbent president has been re-elected to serve a third term in office.
Rafael Correa is said to have won 61 percent of the vote in the first round, compared to 21 percent for his nearest rival.
If borne out by the facts, it will be a timely boost for Latin America’s alliance of socialist leaders.
Correa wasted no time in appearing in public to claim victory. He thanked the crowd for what he described as an enormous vote of confidence. “You know we never failed you, he says, and we never will.”
Former banker Guillermo Lasso was the strongest showing of the seven opposition candidates in the race.
Correa’s popularity as a “man of the people” hinges on the redistribution of Ecuador’s oil wealth in favour of those most in need. He has reformed the social security system, built schools and infrastructure.