Ecuador's Correa vows to make socialist revolution 'irreversible'

Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:47pm EST
 
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By Eduardo Garcia

QUITO (Reuters) - Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said his party likely won three-quarters of the seats in Congress in last weekend's election and vowed on Wednesday to "steamroll" through reforms that will make his socialist model irreversible.

The 49-year-old economist was re-elected on Sunday with 57 percent of votes, some 34 percentage points more than the runner-up. During his six years in office he has won broad support with high spending on infrastructure and social welfare.

Results are still being compiled, but Correa said the ruling Alianza Pais party probably won about 73 percent of Congress' 137 seats. That means he will be able to push through reforms, although he said he would respect different political opinions.

"This is going to be a legislative steamroller to serve the interests of the Ecuadorean people. ... In democracy, the winners rule, but the losers have to be respected," he told foreign reporters at the presidential palace.

"We're overwhelmed with the amount of support from people. ... We're going to deepen the citizen's revolution, build a new homeland and make it irreversible."

Final results from Sunday's congressional and presidential votes are expected to be published in the coming days.

Correa first took office in 2007 vowing to increase revenue from the OPEC nation's oil resources and cut debt obligations to fund spending on roads, hospitals and schools.

He also promised to press ahead with socialist reforms to empower the low-income majority and dismantle what he called an elitist system that controlled the state and neglected the poor.   Continued...

 
Ecuador's President Rafael Correa speaks at the opening ceremony of the New Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Tababela parish, about 20km (12.4 miles) northeast of Quito February 19, 2013. REUTERS/Gary Granja