Ecuador's Correa in re-election triumph, eyes investment for growth

Mon Feb 18, 2013 1:08am EST
 
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* Charismatic economist cruises to easy election win

* Correa seen extending state role in economy in new term

* Ecuador needs investments to diversify oil-based economy

By Eduardo Garcia and Brian Ellsworth

QUITO, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa reveled in a sweeping re-election victory that allows him to deepen his socialist revolution even as he seeks to woo foreign investment in the resource-wealthy Andean nation.

The pugnacious 49-year-old economist trounced his nearest rival by more than 30 percentage points on Sunday to win a new four-year term. He has already been in power for six years, winning broad support with ambitious social spending programs.

Correa's resounding victory on Sunday could set him up to become Latin America's most outspoken critic of Washington as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is locked in a battle with cancer and may be unable to stay in power.

"We will be present wherever we can be useful, wherever we can best serve our fellow citizens and our Latin American brothers," Correa told supporters who celebrated in front of the presidential palace in Quito, waving the ruling Alianza Pais party's neon-green flags.

"This is not just a victory for Ecuador, this is a victory for the great homeland of Latin America," the beaming Correa said.   Continued...