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Three exit polls and an unofficial quick count indicated Mr Correa had gained around 57% of the vote while Alvaro Noboa polled about 43%.
Rafael Correa has a commanding lead in unofficial exit polls
"Thank God, we have triumphed," Mr Correa told supporters in the capital Quito.
"We accept this victory with dignity and humility... We are just instruments of the power of the people."
Although the official result has not yet been announced, Mr Correa has moved quickly to make policy announcements and appoint ministers.
He said he will try to rejoin the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) which Ecuador left in 1992.
He also named leftist economists Ricardo Patino and Alberto Acosta as his economy and energy ministers, Reuters news agency said.
An economic aide to Mr Correa said he would not pay some of Ecuador's "illegitimate" foreign debt and would not sign a free trade agreement with the United States, Reuters said.
While campaigning, Mr Correa said he wanted to renegotiate contracts with foreign oil companies.
Mr Correa is close to Venezuela's anti-American President Hugo Chavez and has called US President George W Bush a "dimwit".
The loser was Equador's richest man who frequently carried around a Bible.
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