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President Correa Claims Majority in Ecuador Election

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa has claimed victory in an election for an assembly to rewrite the nation's constitution.

No official results have been released, but preliminary exit polls indicate his party has won at least 70 of the 130 available seats in the assembly.

Opposition leader Gilmar Gutierrez, however, has refused to accept defeat, saying he is waiting for the official results, which could take weeks.

The assembly has six months to prepare a final draft of the new constitution and present it to voters in a referendum.

If Mr. Correa's party gains control of the assembly, the leftist president says, it can dissolve Ecuador's Congress, which has blocked many of his proposed reforms. He has promised to use the assembly to curb the influence of traditional political parties.

Mr. Correa says the current Congress is corrupt and inefficient. His opponents say he is trying to grab more power.

The Ecuadorean leader is following a path similar to that of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Bolivian President Evo Morales, who pledged new constitutions if elected.