Skip to main content

Ecuador's Rafael Correa cruises to victory

By Dana Ford and Andres Lopez, CNN
updated 4:06 AM EST, Mon February 18, 2013
A supporter of Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa celebrates Correa's apparent re-election Sunday.
A supporter of Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa celebrates Correa's apparent re-election Sunday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: With about 74% of ballots counted, Correa won 56% of the vote
  • NEW: His closest competitor, who came in at 23%, concedes
  • Correa's leftist policies make him popular at home

Quito, Ecuador (CNN) -- Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa swept to an easy re-election Sunday in a vote that showcased stability and the popularity of his left-leaning social and economic programs.

With about 74% of ballots counted, Correa claimed 56% of the vote.

His closest competitor, Guillermo Lasso Mendoza, garnered 23% of the vote. He conceded.

"This victory is yours," Correa told throngs of supporters outside the presidential palace, many of whom waved the electric green flags of his party. "You know we have never failed you, and we never will."

Correa went into the election with a big lead over his seven challengers, and was widely expected to win.

To avoid a runoff, the winner must obtain at least 40% of the vote and more than 10 points' difference from the runner-up.

From abroad, the leftist president is often characterized as a disciple of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Indeed, the U.S.-trained economist has created his own "Citizens' Revolution," a socialist-oriented economic program with some similarities to what Chavez has done in Venezuela.

Correa's social and economic programs have boosted his popularity. He enjoys an approval rating of nearly 85%, according to a December survey by pollster Perfiles de Opiniones.

But Correa has been criticized by press freedom groups for his government's aggressive legal battles against media outlets unfriendly to him, and, more generally, for what critics say are is his authoritarian tendencies.

At the same time, Ecuador is housing Julian Assange in its embassy in London, and Correa has offered him asylum.

Correa's closest rival, Lasso, ran on a platform promising lower taxes and the privatization of state media companies.

Lasso conceded the election by cheering his party, which he said is now the second-largest political force in the country.

Ecuador, the smallest of the Andean countries, is known for its oil production and tourism. Since Correa became president, he has aligned himself with other countries in the region who reject the influence of the United States.

Correa assumed the presidency in 2007 and under a new constitution ran again and won the presidency in 2009. He is now expected to serve until 2017.

The possibility of 10 years under Correa's leadership is a contrast with the political landscape in Ecuador before he became president. The country had seven presidents in the 10-year span between 1996 and 2006.

In addition to their president, Ecuadorians voted Sunday to elect a vice president, 137 legislators in the National Assembly and five members of the Andean Parliament.

Journalist Andres Lopez reported from Quito and CNN's Dana Ford from Atlanta. CNN's Mariano Castillo and Claudia Dominguez also contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 7:48 AM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
The possibility of pockets of air remaining within the hull of the sunken South Korean ferry offers hope to rescuers -- and relatives -- say experts.
updated 7:45 AM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
Despite hundreds still missing after the sinking of a South Korean ferry, reports of text messages keep hope alive that there may be survivors yet.
updated 8:37 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Mentions of the 1989 Tiananmen Square student protests or political reform are still censored in China.
updated 1:31 PM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
It's hard not to be nervous, standing outside the Ebola isolation wards.
updated 5:31 PM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Russia's propaganda worse now than at height of Cold War, says Leon Aron, director of Russian studies at AEI.
Sanctions imposed against Russia are working as a deterrent, President Barack Obama and other White House senior administration officials said.
updated 12:40 AM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
A lack of progress in the search for MH370 is angering the families of victims.
updated 5:16 PM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
Officials are launching their next option: an underwater vehicle to scan the ocean floor.
updated 11:09 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
The searches for the Titanic and Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 share common techniques.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
An "extraordinary" video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years.
updated 11:35 PM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
This year's Pyongyang marathon was open to foreign amateurs.
updated 8:30 AM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
Explore each side's case, reconstructed from Pistorius' court affidavit and the prosecution's case during last year's bail hearing.
updated 1:53 PM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
How are police preparing for this year's 26.2-mile marathon, which takes place Monday?
updated 1:02 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Katrina Karkazis
Romance is hard, for anyone. For people with intersex traits, love poses unique challenges.
updated 8:38 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Suisse's Belinda Bencic returns the ball to France's Alize Cornet during the second match of the Fed Cup first round tennis tie France vs Switzerland on February 8, 2014 at the Pierre de Coubertin stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
It's no easy matter becoming a world class tennis player. It's even harder when everyone (really -- everyone) is calling you the "new Martina Hingis".
updated 5:26 PM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
The "kill switch," a system for remotely disabling smartphones and wiping their data, will become standard in 2015.
updated 6:29 AM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
ADVERTISEMENT