Ortega Leads for Nicaragua Presidency

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MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) - Daniel Ortega appeared headed back to the presidency 16 years after a U.S.-backed rebellion helped oust the former Marxist revolutionary, as partial results and the country's top electoral watchdog indicated he had easily defeated four opponents.

The Sandinista leader's victory in Sunday's election, if confirmed by final results, would expand the club of leftist Latin rulers led by Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, who has tried to help his Nicaraguan ally by shipping cheap oil to the energy-starved nation.

Ortega, who led Nicaragua from 1985-1990, repeatedly has said he no longer is the Marxist revolutionary who fought U.S.-backed Contra rebels in a war that left 30,000 dead and the economy in shambles.

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