Ecuador: Left-wing disability activist to run for president on ruling party ticket

Left to right: President Rafael Correa, Pais aliance presidential candidate Lenin Moreno andhis vice presidential running mate Jorge Glas.

Ecuador’s ruling party, the leftist Pais Alliance of President Rafael Correa, has elected disability rights activist Lenin Moreno to be its next candidate for president during its October 1 congress, TeleSUR English said. Presidential elections are scheduled for February 19 next year.

Moreno, 63, accepted the nomination following a vote of members of the party during the 5th National Convention in Quito, in front of more than 20,000 supporters. The former vice-president under Correa from 2007 to 2013 has been in a wheelchair since being shot in 1998. He has since served as Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility at the United Nations.

“The right person to continue this process is this incredible human being, Lenin Moreno,” said Correa during his last party convention as head of state. “No one would be able to defeat the moral stature of our comrade Lenin.”

The Ecuadorian constitution allowed for unlimited consecutive re-elections for public office. However, Correa proposed an amendment to restrict these limits in an effort to calm critics who accused the president of seeking to extend his time in power. Even though a referendum could repeal this law, Correa announced last year that he would not seek a third term.

Moreno has helped change the country’s old policies of exclusion for disabled people and created a social program that provided for job placements as well as subsidies for relatives who perform caregiving duties.

“Let’s continue to walk together until the end,” Moreno said at the congress. “We need to embrace our brothers, because the road ahead is hard.”

During the convention, Moreno also announced he would run with current Vice-President Jorge Glas. Correa predicted that the Pais Alliance will win the next elections without the need for a run-off vote — ie: by winning more than 50% in the first round.

“Let’s be united, the task is to go to each province, county, parish, neighbourhood, house, even to those who are opponents and tell them the legacy of the Citizen Revolution,” added Moreno.

In 2013, Moreno was appointed to the UN post, and he currently leads the Committee for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities, at the Organization of American States. Moreno was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012 by lawmakers in Ecuador's National Assembly.

[Read more of TeleSUR English's Ecuador coverage.]

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