President Rafael Correa handily won a third term as Ecuador's head of state Sunday in a landslide victory demonstrating what many are calling a "clear mandate" for the continuation of his progressive economic policies and widespread support for his growing "citizens' revolution."
"This victory is yours. It belongs to our families, to our wife, to our friends, our neighbors, the entire nation," said Correa on a state television broadcast. "We are only here to serve you. Nothing for us. Everything for you, a people who have become dignified in being free."
Thousands of supporters celebrated in the main square in the capital, Quito, as television stations began announcing the exit poll results shortly after polls closed.Media reports confirm that Correa was re-elected with at least 58 per cent of the vote with his closest challenger, a former banker named Guillermo Lasso, receiving 24 per cent; Correa’s Alianza País party also won a clear majority in the National Assembly, garnering 52 per cent of the vote.
Since Correa initially took office in 2007, the country has experienced solid economic growth. Poverty has been reduced by 27 per cent with unemployment reaching a record low of 4.1 percent last year. Reporting on the victory, the Guardian adds:
Correa has endeared himself to the poor and lower middle class by making education and health care more accessible, building or improving roads and creating 95,400 jobs in the past four years, according to government figures.[...]
The US-educated Correa gained an early reputation as a maverick, defying international financiers by defaulting on $3.9bn in foreign debt obligations and rewriting contracts with oil multinationals to secure a higher share of oil revenues for Ecuador.
He has also kept the United States at arm's length while upsetting Britain and Sweden in August by granting asylum at the Ecuadorean embassy in London to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Calling the re-election of both Correa and many members of his Alianza País party a "clear mandate for the continuation of [his] economic policies," Center for Economic and Policy Research Co-Director Mark Weisbrot said that media bias against South America's left wing governments has tainted some of Correa's successes thus far. "But this is what democracy looks like," he adds. "When a government succeeds, voters reward it at the polls."
"The banking class cannot run things here anymore," he declared after the win. "Nor party politics nor the media nor factions serving interest groups. The International Monetary Fund does not run things here, nor the international bureaucracies. Hegemonic countries do not run things here anymore. Despite whatever errors we could commit, you can rest assure that this revolution will be led by you, Ecuadorean men and women."
This article was originally published at Common Dreams and is reprinted here with permission.
Photo: Presidencia de la República del Ecuador / flickr
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