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Exit polls: Lima's mayor survives recall election

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March 17, 2013 10:57 PM EST | AP

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LIMA, Peru — Lima's first elected female mayor will survive a recall election widely seen as a bid to reclaim power by groups threatened by her reforms, three exit polls suggested on Sunday.

The polls showed that roughly 53 percent of voters want center-leftist Susana Villaran to finish her term as mayor of Peru's capital.

Villaran has battled to organize Lima's chaotic, transit system and reform other corruption-ridden institutions. The career human rights official was backed by most of Peru's political establishment.

But her detractors, including her predecessor, Luis Castaneda, called her inept and inefficient, and slow in executing public works projects. They collected signatures to call Sunday's vote on whether to remove her from office.

But their efforts appeared to have failed.

Polling company CPI showed 54 percent of voters rejecting her ouster, while polling firms Ipsos and Datum Internacional had her receiving roughly 53 percent support.

Official results are expected to be announced on Monday.

"Today nobody lost, today Lima won," Villaran said.