Alianza País has nominated former Vice President Lenin Moreno as its presidential candidate for the 2017 national elections. Current Vice President Jorge Glas was nominated as Moreno’s running mate.
“We believe that Lenin is the best choice to guide Ecuador through the next phase of the country’s political evolution. He is truly an amazing human being,” President Rafael Correa said at the País nominating convention Saturday in Quito.
Moreno’s selection was widely anticipated and, according to polls, he goes into the February election as the clear favorite to succeed President Rafael Correa.
Moreno, 63, was Correa’s vice president from 2007 to 2013 and is currently the United Nations special envoy on disability and accessibility in Geneva, Switzerland. Moreno, who uses a wheelchair, was paralyzed from the waist down as the result of 1998 robbery. Following a lengthy recovery, he has devoted much of his energy to working for the rights of the disabled.
In his acceptance speech to a crowd of 22,000 at Sociedad Deportiva Aucas stadium, Moreno pledged to continue Correa’s center-left policies and said he would work hard for the rights of vulnerable groups, including the poor, the elderly, as well as the disabled.
Despite his pledge, political analysts say a Moreno presidency would be markedly different than Correa’s. “His personality is almost opposite Correa’s,” says Carlos Gonzalez. “He is an optimistic, friendly person, but also quietly introspective. He has been known to send birthday messages and ‘get well’ cards to his political opponents and criticism doesn’t bother him like it does Correa,” he said.
Gonzalez, who served as a political advisor to two presidents, says that Moreno’s handicap has had profound impact on his life. “He went through a period of deep depression following the shooting and when he recovered, he was a changed man in many respects. Although he will continue many of Correa’s leftist projects, I believe you will see a totally different attitude in government if Lenin is elected.”
Other political parties also selected their nominees on Saturday. Cynthia Viteri was tapped, as expected, by the center-right Unidad party while Paco Moncayo will lead a leftist coalition of worker and indigenous organizations. Guayaquil banker Guillermo Lasso, who came in second to Correa in the 2013 election and who is currently polling second behind Moreno, is the CREO candidate.