Ecuador's Correa sees "high chances" of re-election bid

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 09, 2012 6:04 PM
Ecuador's Correa sees "high chances" of re-election bid

QUITO (Reuters) - Ecuador's President Rafael Correa said on Tuesday his family would support him if he were to run for re-election in 2013 and that his candidacy now rested on the "high chances" that he would be nominated as the ruling party's candidate.

The 49-year-old has long said that any re-election bid in February of next year would depend on the ruling party and his family, so their approval effectively leaves the decision in the hands of the Alianza Pais political coalition.

"The bad news for those naggers (opposition politicians) is that my family supports me and they know that I've got a responsibility toward the country," Correa told a local radio network in the coastal city of Guayaquil, referring to a possible re-election bid.

The U.S.-trained economist said in August that his family has had to cope with a lack of privacy and security protocols since 2007, and it may not be fair to his Belgian wife and his three children to continue like that for four more years.

"I've not yet decided if I'll run for president, that's a decision that Alianza Pais will have to make. There's a high chance that they will appoint me," he said.

Correa is the undisputed leader of Alianza Pais, and has strong backing from party leaders and affiliates. Alianza Pais is expected to carry out a general meeting to nominate their presidential candidate in November.

In power since 2007, Correa has implemented reforms aimed at increasing state revenue from the OPEC-member's natural resources and fighting a political and economic elite he says monopolized power for decades and shunned the poor majority.

High spending on roads, hospitals and schools has made Correa very popular, and he is well positioned to win the vote if he decides to run.

The opposition is divided and lacks a charismatic leader.

Guillermo Lasso, a banker from Guayaquil, and former Correa-ally Alberto Acosta have already announced their candidacies.

Correa has been criticized for amassing too much power in his own hands, clamping down on media freedom, driving away foreign investors and failing to diversify the economy from its dependence on oil exports.

But the Andean country has been growing steadily since 2010, and he has brought stability to the politically volatile nation. Three presidents were forced to resign due to widespread protests during the decade before he took office.

Correa is one of a bloc of leftist presidents in Latin America that includes Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and Evo Morales in Bolivia. They are fervent critics of U.S. "imperialism" and have put in place policies to boost state revenue from their countries' abundant natural resources.

(Reporting by Yuri Garcia in Guayaquil; Additional reporting by Alexandra Valencia in Quito; Writing by Eduardo Garcia; Editing by Todd Eastham)