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 5:45 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
updated 9:43 PM EST, Wed December 17, 2014
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
updated 4:48 AM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
updated 3:27 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
updated 9:12 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
updated 7:12 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
updated 6:44 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
updated 5:26 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
updated 5:54 AM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
updated 9:31 AM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT