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Rafael Correa’s "revolution" in Ecuador continues

Translated Sunday 31 March 2013, by Kristina Wischenkamper

Rafael Correa has been triumphantly re-elected to the presidency of Ecuador’s 15 million people in the first round of elections, according to official estimates. His main opponent, the conservative banker Guillermo Lasso, quickly admitted defeat on Sunday night.

Rafael Correa, the charismatic and popular leader and 49-year-old economist, who since coming to power in 2007 has brought about a socialist shift in his country’s politics, has promised to consolidate his "revolution" during the final four-year term allowed him by law.

"Thank you for your confidence. We will never let you down. This victory is your victory". This was Rafael Correa’s message to thousands of cheering fans from the balcony of the presidential palace in Quito. "Our revolution cannot be stopped. We are writing history." The Head of State won the first round with more than 56% of the votes after almost 40% of the ballots had been counted.

Rafael Correa was clearly ahead of his main rival, the conservative banker Guillermo Lasso, credited with 24% according to a partial count released by the National Electoral Council (CNE). "Tonight, I must recognize President Rafael Correa’s triumph", announced the right-wing businessman and leader of the Movement for the creation of opportunities (Creo), in a speech given to his supporters gathered in the port of Guayaquil (southwest). The Head of State "has won re-election and deserves our respect," he continued. Given his showing in the election, Guillermo Lasso, who was briefly Minister of Finance during a violent economic crisis in the late 1990s, poses as the head of the opposition to Rafael Correa, now in power for six years.

After the results were announced, the streets were invaded by a forest of green flags, the colour of the ruling Alianza Pais. "Rafael, we love you", shouted the crowd, amid fireworks and a symphony of car horns. "I hope that Correa will continue to eradicate poverty and create more work for Ecuadorians," Rodrigo Felicitas, a father of 43 years, told AFP.

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