UPDATE 6-Ecuador's Correa claims re-election victory

Sun Feb 17, 2013 6:47pm EST
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* Two exit polls give him win

* Fractured opposition fielded seven candidates

* Correa's triumph a boost for Latin American left

By Brian Ellsworth and Alexandra Valencia

QUITO, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa claimed a re-election victory on Sunday that would allow him to strengthen state control over the OPEC nation's economy and gives a timely boost to Latin America's alliance of socialist leaders.

Correa won 61 percent of the vote compared with 21 percent for former banker Guillermo Lasso, the strongest showing of the seven opposition candidates in the race, according to an exit poll by private firm Opinion Publica.

A separate exit poll by the firm Cedatos showed Correa winning 59 percent of the vote versus 20 percent for Lasso.

"Nobody can stop this revolution," said a jubilant Correa from the balcony of the presidential palace above a crowd of supporters in Quito. "The colonial powers are not in charge anymore, you can be sure that in this revolution it's Ecuadoreans who are in charge."

The electoral authority was expected to release an official quick-count by 7:00 p.m. EST (0000 GMT) based on 30 percent of the votes cast.   Continued...