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New leftist Ecuador president takes office
May 25, 2017
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Quito: Ecuador’s new president Lenin Moreno took office Wednesday, tasked with steering a flagship of the Latin American left through troubled economic and political waters.

Congress swore in Moreno, 64, as the quieter successor to one of the feistiest personalities in Latin American politics: Rafael Correa.

Moreno is the first wheelchair-user to become Ecuador’s leader, and one of few such leaders in the world ever to serve as president.

His legs have been paralyzed since he was shot during a robbery in 1998.

He went on to lead a task force on disability rights as vice-president in Correa’s government. That earned him a nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2012.

President for a decade, Correa, 54, is one of a generation of colourful leftist leaders who governed the mineral-rich region over recent decades.

He won the hearts of many with welfare spending, social equality policies and subsidies which he says reduced poverty.

And unlike his allies in Brazil, Argentina and Peru, his side has managed to stay in office, winning re-election this year.

Known to his supporters simply as “Lenin,” Moreno “is willing to be less confrontational and to have a softer approach as president to the opposition and the media,” said Farith Simon, an analyst at San Francisco University in Quito.

“He will not change political course but will change the style of government.” Moreno said in his programme for government that “passion for life obliges us to deepen the changes we have achieved and defend our social progress.” Economists warn Moreno faces tougher conditions than those enjoyed by Correa, however.

Agence France-Presse

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