Emphasizing his commitment to all the people of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno began his presidency on Wednesday by promising to begin a national dialogue to include the full range of social and political ideas “to move the country forward.”
“We are all made of the same clay, we all share the same air, and our similarities far outnumber our differences,” Moreno told a crowd of 1,600 in the National Assembly hall in Quito. “We all love Ecuador and must work together to make her even greater.”
Moreno devoted much of his speech to economic issues. One of his first executive actions, he said, would be to sign an order that all government departments undergo a full review of operations to find potential savings,” he said. “We must impose austerity measures immediately,” he said. “The financial health of the government requires it.”
He emphasized, however, that federal programs for the poor, handicapped, and elderly will not be cut. “It is always my commitment to protect and assist our most vulnerable citizens,” he said.
The new president also repeated his pledge to maintain the U.S. dollar as Ecuador’s national currency. He insisted that there would be no “parallel currency” to the dollar during his presidency, a reference to the electronic money system introduced by President Rafael Correa in 2013.
“Let me be very clear on this point,” Moreno said. “We are going to support and maintain dollarization and it will have no competition.”
Moreno said he would appoint a tax advisory board to examine taxes on businesses. “This will be a joint review by the public and private sectors,” he said. “I intend to strengthen public – private partnerships in Ecuador and to do this we must recognize the need to support the entrepreneurs and businesses that provide employment to our people.”
In a surprise to some of his Alianza País supporters, Moreno said he would discontinue Correa’s weekly national television broadcasts, called Citizen’s Links, or sabitinos. Moreno said the large forums did not suit his style, which he described as low-key and conversational. “I will have other ways to communicate with the public,” he said.