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Morales Claims Victory in Bolivian Presidential Race

Exit polls from Bolivia's presidential election show leftist candidate Evo Morales winning an outright majority of votes.

If official results confirm the polls, Mr. Morales will become Bolivia's first Indian president. His closest rival, conservative Jorge Quiroga, has already conceded defeat.

Mr. Morales spoke before a large crowd of cheering supporters in the town of Cochabamba, his political stronghold, after exit polls showed him winning just over 50 percent of the vote.

The first official returns are expected Monday. If Mr. Morales fails to win half the vote, Bolivia's Congress will choose the next president from the top two finishers.

Mr. Morales has vowed to reverse the U.S.-backed campaign to eradicate coca, the main ingredient in cocaine, but also used by Bolivia's Indians as a traditional medicine. Mr. Morales also wants to increase government control over Bolivia's natural gas resources.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.