inauguration of Guillermo Lasso as President of the Republic

“Today, Ecuador declares that it is opening its doors to world trade”, said Guillermo Lasso, Monday, May 24, during his inauguration in Quito. Elected in April the first right-wing president of Ecuador for fourteen years, he thus promised the opening of the country “To free trade with [ses] greatest allies ”.

In accordance with the country’s Constitution, Guillermo Lasso, 65, was sworn in before the unicameral Parliament in the presence of the presidents of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, of the Dominican Republic, Luis Abinader, and of Haiti, Jovenel Moïse, as well as that of the King of Spain, Felipe VI, according to Parliament.

The US government delegation was led by its Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who, upon arriving in Quito on Sunday, declared that free elections such as those which saw Mr. Lasso ascend to the presidency are an example for democracy in the region.

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A nation in the throes of an economic crisis

Mr. Lasso is going to have to rule a divided nation in the throes of an economic crisis. The GDP contracted by 7.8% in 2020 in this oil country affected by the fall in crude prices, where the global debt represents 63% of the GDP.

The former banker is betting on free trade and job creation and entrusted the ministry of economy and finance to an economist who worked for the International Monetary Fund, Simon Cueva.

“I did not come to satisfy the hatred of a few, I came to satisfy the hunger of the greatest number”said the new leader, whose priorities for his government will be to eradicate child malnutrition, work for gender equality and tackle unemployment which has worsened with the pandemic.

This conservative, fervent Catholic and loyal to the ultraconservative Catholic organization Opus Dei, becomes head of state on his third attempt, after his defeats in 2013 and 2017.

“Difficult months” await him

By beating Andrés Arauz, 36, with 52.36% of the vote in the second round on April 11, he closed a period of domination of the left, marked by the figure of the former socialist leader Rafael Correa (2007-2017 ), who has lived in Belgium since leaving power.

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This conservative, leader of the Create Opportunities movement (CREO), succeeds the unpopular Lenin Moreno, whose popularity has fallen from 53.4% ​​to 9.3% in four years, according to the private polling institute Cedatos .

Mr. Lasso, who has to move around using a cane, warned that “Difficult months” await him on the front lines of the fight against the pandemic. “We will vaccinate without rest because the virus is not resting”, he said, insisting on his goal of vaccinating nine million people in one hundred days.

He also promised to regularize the tens of thousands of Venezuelans who fled the economic crisis in their country. According to the authorities, some 350,000 Venezuelans live in Ecuador, the majority in the province of Pichincha, where the capital, Quito, in the north-west of the country is located.

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The World with AFP


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