Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa has been re-elected for a third term with more than 50% of the vote. His main challenger has admitted defeat. Addressing his supporters in the capital, Quito, Mr Correa called for “another four years of revolution”. First elected in 2007, the socialist leader is widely credited with bringing political stability to a nation that suffered decades of protests and coups. But critics accuse Mr Correa of being a dictator in the making. The 49-year-old US-trained economist has been accused of implementing policies that have served to strengthen his hold on power and erode the influence of political opponents and private media. But his so-called “citizens’ revolution” has made him popular with many ordinary Ecuadoreans and has won him friends among other Latin American left-wing leaders.
Partial results give Mr Correa 56.7%, ahead of 23.3% for his nearest rival, former banker Guillermo Lasso. The third-placed challenger was poised to take 6.6%, with four others trailing below 5%. To avoid a run-off, the president needs to win 50% of the total vote or 40% plus a 10-point margin over the second-placed candidate.
Speaking on TV after 40% of the votes had been counted, the head of the National Electoral Council said the final result would not be significantly larger or smaller.
President Correa was quick to claim victory. “Nobody can stop this revolution,” he told a crowd of supporters gathered outside the balcony of the Carondelet Palace in Quito. “The colonial powers are not in charge anymore, you can be sure that in this revolution it’s Ecuadoreans who are in charge.”
“We are here to serve you,” he added. “Nothing for us, everything for you: the people who deserve the right to be free.
“This is not just a victory for Ecuador, this is a victory for the great homeland of Latin America.”