A landslide second re-election secured, President Rafael Correa immediately vowed to deepen the “citizen’s revolution” that has lifted tens of thousands of Ecuadoreans out of poverty as he expanded the welfare state.
“In this revolution the citizens are in charge, not capital,” the leftist U.S.-trained economist said after winning 56.9 per cent of the vote on Sunday against 23.8 per cent for his closest challenger, banker Guillermo Lasso. The result easily topped the 51.7 per cent that he won in his first re-election in April 2009. He is barred by the constitution from another four-year term.
Mr. Correa (48) has brought surprising stability to an oil-exporting nation of 14.6 million with a history of unruliness that cycled through seven Presidents in the decade before him.
Since Mr. Correa took office in 2007, the United Nations says Ecuador’s poverty rate has dropped nearly five percentage points to 32.4 per cent. With the help of oil prices that have hovered around $100 a barrel, he has raised lower-class living standards and widened the welfare state with region-leading social spending.
Mr. Correa has been widely condemned for using criminal libel law against opposition news media and for such strong-arm tactics as seizing Ecuador’s airwaves virtually at will to spread his political gospel and attack opponents.
Mr. Correa dedicated his victory to his cancer-stricken friend President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, who some analysts have suggested he could succeed as the standard-bearer of Latin America’s left.