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Bolivias Evo Morales faces presidential run-off, early vote returns show

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Bolivian President Evo Morales led Sunday's election, but did not have enough votes to avoid a potentially risky runoff with chief rival Carlos Mesa in December, a preliminary count of nearly 84% of official results by the electoral board showed.

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Morales, 59, South America's longest-serving leftist leader, won 45% of votes, compared with Mesa's 38%, according to the partial count, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal said late on Sunday.

Morales needed at least 40% of votes with a 10-point lead over the runner-up to win outright. The final winner in the election will govern Bolivia, a landlocked country of 11 million people, from 2020 to 2025.

The results indicated that Morales would head to a second-round vote for the first time since sweeping to power in 2006, giving him his weakest mandate if he defeats Mesa in December.

Morales is running in defiance of term limits and despite a 2016 referendum in which Bolivians voted against allowing him to seek a fourth consecutive term. A local court ruling allowed him to run anyway. As he did in the 2014 election, Morales has promised to retire after the Read More – Source