Rafael Correa, like Vladimir Putin, Hugo Chávez and other authoritarian rulers, found himself stymied by term limits. So in 2015, the Ecuadoran president persuaded his legislature to lift a ceiling of two presidential terms by promising not to run in 2017. His idea was to install a follower for four years and then return to power, as Mr. Putin once did. Then, on Sunday, came a much-deserved comeuppance: Ecuadoran voters, prompted by Mr. Correa’s own successor, voted overwhelmingly to restore a two-term presidential limit, thus blocking the planned second act. It was a victory for democracy not just in Ecuador but also in a region where numerous rulers have sought to entrench themselves in power.
Mr. Correa, who was first elected in 2007, embraced a somewhat milder version of Mr. Chávez’s left-wing populism. With the help of high prices for Ecuador’s oil exports, he reduced poverty while launching assaults on media freedom, private business and the courts. When oil prices fell, Mr. Correa followed Mr. Chávez in borrowing huge sums from China, promising future oil deliveries in exchange. Ecuador now owes Beijing the equivalent of three years of its production.
The caudillo clearly expected that his successor, Lenín Moreno, would follow his lead. Instead, to his credit, Mr. Moreno has moved to clean up the mess he inherited. He reached out to the media and businesses and let citizens know for the first time how much had been borrowed from China. When Mr. Correa’s vice president was implicated in a corruption scandal, Mr. Moreno made no attempt to shield him.
Full Article: Ecuador bucks the authoritarian trend – The Washington Post.