Opposition candidate Fernando Lugo won Paraguay's presidential election on Sunday, ending 61 years of rule by the Colorado Party.

Lugo defeated ruling party rival Blanca Ovelar, who conceded defeat Sunday night, ending her bid to become the South American nation's first woman president.

Mr. Lugo told supporters that they have decided to be a free Paraguay, and pledged to help the nation's poor.

Election officials declared Lugo the winner with 41 percent of the vote, compared to 31 percent for Ovelar. A third candidate, former army chief Lino Oviedo, had 22 percent.

Lugo is a former Roman Catholic bishop who heads the center-left Patriotic Alliance for Change - a coalition that includes the main opposition party, trade unions, farm groups and Indians.

Lugo, once called the bishop of the poor, was ordained into the priesthood in 1977, and went into politics in 2006.

The Colorado Party has ruled Paraguay since 1947, including the 35-year right-wing dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner.

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