At the opening of the new year, Julian Assange tweeted out a photograph of himself in an Ecuadorian soccer jersey. The gesture, while not immediately grabbing anyone’s attention, was seen in hindsight as a subtle clue towards Assange’s newly granted citizenship.
In 2015, Rafael Correa, the former president of Ecuador, officially passed a constitutional amendment which, in addition to a few auxiliary adjustments, formally eliminated presidential term limits. Lawmakers who approved the measure did so under the terms that Correa would step aside for the 2017 election - which he did.
In the latest development in a seemingly endless string of corruption discoveries and charges, Ecuador’s Vice President, Jorge Glas, has been placed by the Supreme Court into pre-trial detention while he is under investigation for his role in the vast Odebrecht scandal.
Lenin Moreno’s inauguration as President of Ecuador took place at the national assembly, through a ceremony through an important extent marked by the salience of exiting president Rafael Correa’s participation. After a pause while Correa abandoned the building in the middle of farewell honors, the new president delivered a speech that repeatedly emphasized the need for respect, tolerance, and dialogue. “I am everybody’s president, I owe everyone, I respect everyone,” he said.
When Ecuador held an election to choose their next president in mid-February, candidate Lenín Moreno had a clear advantage over the seven other contenders, with over 10% more of the vote than the runner-up, Guillermo Lasso. But when Moreno’s final share of the vote, at 39.36%, came up just short of the 40% needed to win, it became clear that a runoff election would be needed. Suddenly a victory by Moreno was not such a sure thing, and polls started to point to a possible triumph by rival Lasso.