During his concession speech in Guayaquil, Lasso said his party would fight for the country and oppose the government “not with insults and abuse, but with ideas.”
The Union of South American Nations, which was observing the vote, said there were no major problems on election day. However, the organization has received four complaints from political parties, including Correa’s, about irregularities leading up to the race. The head of the observation team, María Emma Mejía, said those allegations would be addressed in the organization’s final report in March.
Correa came to power in 2007 in the wake of an economic crisis and political turbulence that had burned through seven presidents in nine years. The young, U.S.-educated economics professor ran as a reformer, vowing to stamp out corruption and use the country’s natural resources to help the poor.
Correa made his mark early by defaulting on $3.8 billion in foreign debt that he said was an onerous legacy of corrupt administrations, and forcing oil companies to renegotiate contracts in the government’s favor. He has since poured those saving into infrastructure, health, education and cash subsidies for the needy.
While he has made deep reforms, he’s also fond of grand gestures.
In 2010, Correa ripped open his shirt and dared protesting policemen to shoot him. That incident led to him being briefly held hostage by the forces in an act the administration considers an attempted coup.
Last year, under pressure at home for attacking the press, Correa gave political asylum to Julian Assange, the free-speech crusader and controversial founder of WikiLeaks. Assange has been stuck in Ecuador’s London embassy since June as he resists extradition to Sweden.
Correa’s first term was due to end in 2011, but when he overhauled the constitution in 2009 it triggered new elections, which he easily won. Under the new constitution, Correa can’t run again, and he has insisted he’ll leave the country when his mandate ends to clear the way for his successor. But Simon Pachano, a political science professor at Quito’s Latin American Faculty for Social Sciences, said Correa may be tempted to take a page out of Chávez’s book and try to stay in power. “The Citizens’ Revolution is Rafael Correa,” Pachano said. “If he wants it to continue, he will have to continue.”
• Lucio Gutierrez, a former president who was overthrown in 2005.
• Alvaro Noboa, a banana baron and one of Ecuador’s richest men, who has run for the presidency five times.
• Alberto Acosta, a one-time Correa ally and National Assembly president who has become a champion of the left.
• Norman Wray, a harmonica-playing former city councilmember.
• Mauricio Rodas, a former political commentator.
• Nelson Zavala, an evangelical preacher who has said he will ban rock concerts and spicy movies.