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article imageOp-Ed: In Ecuador President Correa scores easy re-election win

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By Ken Hanly     Feb 17, 2013 in Politics
Quito - Exit polls by the private firm of Opinion Publica gave Correa 61% of the vote as compared to his closest opponent Guillermo Lasso at 21%.
A separate exit poll by Cedatos showed similar results with Correa at 59% and Lasso at 20%
The win will no doubt result in the leftist president strengthening state control over parts of the economy. Correa spoke from the balcony of the presidential palace to a crowd of supporters:"Nobody can stop this revolution. The colonial powers are not in charge anymore, you can be sure that in this revolution it's Ecuadoreans who are in charge." The win will give Correa a third term as president.
Correa, a US-trained economist, wants to continue to increase the role of the state in the OPEC member's economy. He also wants to strengthen the ALBA bloc in Latin America a group of nations that often opposes the United States. Correa is the first Ecuadorean president to complete a full term in office in 20 years. He has brought a measure of stability to a country known for violent protests and military coups.
A municipal worker in Quito said:"He has breathed new life into the country with the infrastructure and social programs. He has allowed the country to recover its dignity." A maid, Luzmila Cordova,who had traveled to Quito with her three small children to see Correa vote said: "Presidente! Presidente!
We get respect from this president and the poor feel like they, too, are human,"
Opposition leaders call Correa a dictator in the making by his hostile exchanges with the media and his heavy taxes on free enterprise and burdensome regulations that constantly change.
Good returns from oil have allowed Correa to return cash to the people but he has also used the funds to spur economic growth. Correa hopes to diversity the economy so that it is less dependent on oil revenues. Investors will be watching to see if Correa is willing to compromise with foreign investors to gain the capital he needs to develop mining and the oil industry. Investors stayed away from Ecuador after Correa defaulted on $3.2 billion in bonds and also forced oil companies to sign contracts that gave more to the government.
There were also elections for congress. The ruling Alianza Party is expected to win a clear majority whereas on dissolution they only had 42% of the seats. He may use his new majority to push through laws that would regulate television and newspaper content.
While Correa's combative style does not go down well with foreign investors or the World Bank, it has only strengthened his support among many Ecuadoreans. He is seen as a strong leader, the first to stand up for foreign powers and investors who had strong influence on Ecuadorean politics in the past.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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