Ecuador's presidential race begins for ruling party

Former Ecuadorian Vice President Lenin Moreno agreed on Saturday to run as the candidate of the ruling leftist Alianza Pais movement in elections scheduled for February of next year.

Former Ecuadorian Vice President Lenin Moreno agreed on Saturday to run as the candidate of the ruling leftist Alianza Pais movement in elections scheduled for February of next year.

“I accept,” Moreno told thousands of supporters gathered at soccer club Sociedad Deportiva Aucas’ stadium in Quito, where his candidacy was proposed by current President Rafael Correa – in office since 2007 – during the movement’s fifth national convention.

But the candidate set conditions on his candidacy, calling on the movement to continue working together to the end and vow to overcome obstacles or differences.

“Because the road ahead, Rafael already said it, is a tough, tough, tough road,” Moreno said.

The 63-year-old Moreno, who was Correa’s vice president from 2007 to 2013, said his running mate would be Ecuador’s current No. 2, Jorge Glas, who also accepted his nomination.

Moreno defended the achievements of the Citizens’ Revolution, as Correa’s left-wing political and socioeconomic project is known, and vowed “there’s no going back,” echoing remarks frequently used by the president and enthusiastically chanted by the crowd.

“We’re going for more,” he added, slamming Correa’s political opponents for their plans to dismantle all of his initiatives.

Correa praised Moreno as “loyal and honorable” and a person whose revolutionary conviction and devotion were unassailable.

“The revolution is in the best possible hands,” Correa said.

Correa said “a tough campaign” lay ahead and that the ruling party’s political project would have to endure attacks from a wealthy and unscrupulous opposition and a right-wing media.

But “we’ll beat them again,” Correa said, calling on his supporters to go “street by street, town square by town square, neighborhood by neighborhood” to defend his Citizens’ Revolution.

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