Ecuador’s Rafael Correa re-elected President for 3rd term
Quito: Ecuadoreans on Sunday re-elected Rafael Correa as their President for another four years by casting more than 50 percent of vote in his favour.
The 49 year old leftist leader, who has won the confidence of Ecuador’s lower classes by his so called “citizen’s revolution” cruised to his third term victory on Sunday as he won 56.9 percent of the vote.
With 57 percent of the vote counted, he was ceded an early victory by his opponent former banker Guillermo Lasso who garnered only 23.8 percent votes.
Correa, who is a US-educated economist, is credited with bringing financial and political stability to this Latin-American nation with a not-so good history of protests and poverty.
According to the United Nations, the poverty in Ecuador has dropped nearly five percentage points to 32.4 percent since Rafael Correa first took office in 2007.
"We are only here to serve you. Nothing for us. Everything for you," Correa told jubilant supporters from the balcony of the Carondelet presidential palace, celebrating long before official results were released.
Lasso, the ex-head of the Banco de Guayaquil, had run a business-friendly but relatively tame campaign, and conceded as first official results were released. Former President Lucio Gutierrez won 6 percent. The rest of the vote was divided among five other candidates.
Correa 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. With the help of oil prices that have hovered around $100 a barrel, he has raised living standards among the poor and widened the welfare state with region-leading social spending.
Correa's result Sunday topped the 51.7 percent he won in his first re-election in April 2009 in a ballot set up by a voter-approved constitutional rewrite. Correa is now legally barred from another 4-year term.
Correa dedicated his victory to Venezuela's cancer-stricken President Hugo Chavez, his close ally among Latin America's alliance of leftist leaders.
While a practitioner of one-man rule in the Chavez mold, he is more respectful of private property.
Ecuador relies on petroleum for more than half of its export earnings, and he has used this oil wealth to make public education and health care more accessible, and lay thousands of kilometers (miles) of new highways.