El Universo, May 24
Wheelchair-bound politician Lenín Moreno assumed Ecuador’s highest office today, nearly 20 years after a shooting attack left him paralyzed.
“Lenín’s big day,” as the front page of Wednesday’s El Universo reads, gives Ecuador its first new leader in a decade. Moreno, 64, replaces leftist Rafael Correa, whom he served from 2007 to 2013 as vice-president. Both represent the socialist Alianza PAIS coalition, which Correa founded 11 years ago.
Moreno — the world’s only paraplegic head of state — won the presidency in a runoff last month against Guillermo Lasso, a wealthy businessman and political conservative. Lasso has refused to concede what he claims was a fraudulent election. International observers described the contest as being fair and transparent.
The big question now is whether Moreno, a former Nobel Peace Prize candidate, will try to distance himself from his powerful predecessor and political patron, who pushed through a number of deep structural reforms in Ecuador and has been accused, over the years, of making a number of authoritarian power plays.
The Colombian daily El Espectador, in an analysis piece published Wednesday, predicts that the new president will be more of a consensus builder. He may have to be given that Alianza PAIS saw its majority in the country’s single-chamber legislature shrink by a considerable amount, from 100 of 137 seats to 74.
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