QUITO, Ecuador, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Voters in Ecuador Sunday re-elected President Rafael Correa with 58.8 percent of the vote, exit polls showed.
Correa, 49, a leftist economist educated in the United States, has drawn praise from voters for using Ecuador's oil revenues to expand public works projects, building roads and schools, The Miami Herald said Sunday.
Citing several exit polls, the newspaper said Correa's main rival, Guillermo Lasso, who leads the opposition CREO party, won 23.1 percent of the vote, running on a platform of easing social strife and attracting foreign investment. Lasso, 57, pledged to reduce crime by hiring 20,000 new police officers, and has accused Correa of co-opting societal institutions and muzzling the press.
The field included eight candidates.
Voting in Ecuador is required by law, meaning a high percentage of the 11.8 million registered voters will decide the election.
If the exit polls are accurate, Correa won the election outright by capturing more than 50 percent of the vote, avoiding an April runoff.
Election observers said the balloting was problem-free, the newspaper reported.
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