Former Vice President Lenin Moreno received a hero’s welcome when he flew into Quito from Switzerland Tuesday morning. He is in town to attend Saturday’s presidential nominating convention of the Alianza País party.
Widely expected to be the País presidential candidate in the February elections, Moreno was welcomed at the airport by a cheering crowd on his way to a meeting of party officials. He was accompanied on his way into Quito by current Vice President Jorge Glas, also a candidate for the presidency.
Many of those welcoming Moreno held signs proclaiming, “We want continuity but we want change,” a subtle rebuke to President Rafael Correa, who founded Alianza País.
At the airport, Moreno stressed the need for national unity. “I return with an outstretched hand for all Ecuadorians who want dialogue and who seek agreements that will help us achieve our national goals.” A strong supporter of Correa, Lenin has criticized the president on several occasions on issues of freedom of the press and the right to protest, as well as the expansion of government regulation of business.
Correa was notably absent for Moreno’s arrival. His secretary said he had other engagements and could not attend.
In recent weeks, dozens of labor and professional organizations associated with Alianza País have endorsed Moreno, while only a handful have come out in support of Glas. Many party officials want Glas to continue in his role as vice president if Moreno wins the election.
Recent polls show Moreno with a sizeable lead over opposition candidate Guillermo Lasso and several others vying for the presidency.
Since leaving the vice presidency four years ago, Moreno has served as Special United Nations Envoy for Disability and Accessibility, in Geneva.