Skip to main content

Ecuador's Rafael Correa cruises to victory

By Dana Ford and Andres Lopez, CNN
February 18, 2013 -- Updated 0906 GMT (1706 HKT)
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
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1225 GMT (2025 HKT)
Action needs to be taken immediately before affected states potentially collapse, says campaigner Bob Geldof.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 0429 GMT (1229 HKT)
Thomas Malthus famously predicted that rising populations would create a food crunch: Could this be true?
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1033 GMT (1833 HKT)
From "Sick Man of Europe" to the world's fourth largest economy.
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1706 GMT (0106 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 2318 GMT (0718 HKT)
Australian PM Tony Abbott vows to "shirt-front" Russia's Putin over the MH17 disaster.
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
Serbia and Albania try to play but the major game is called off after a drone flying a political flag enters the stadium.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1136 GMT (1936 HKT)
George Clooney's new wife, is now Amal Clooney, raising the issue of married names.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1757 GMT (0157 HKT)
The mysterious unmanned X-37B space plane returns to Earth after more than two years in space. But the U.S. Air force isn't saying much.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1655 GMT (0055 HKT)
Public health experts are asking whether the CDC is getting the wrong message out.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 1541 GMT (2341 HKT)
It's no longer necessary to launch your startup in Silicon Valley -- thanks to the internet, you can do it anywhere.
October 8, 2014 -- Updated 0900 GMT (1700 HKT)
From a "democracy wall" to a towering "Umbrella man" statue, see the best art from the massive protests in Hong Kong.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT