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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 November 2006, 13:17 GMT
Ecuador press sees uncertain future
Newly-elected Ecuador President Rafael Correa holds a newspaper reading "The cod wins"
A challenging future awaits

Leading newspapers in Ecuador give a cautious welcome to the election victory of Rafael Correa, while pointing to the many potential pitfalls that lie ahead.

One issue commentators are fearful of is a continuation of the age-old conflict between the president and Congress, which has resulted in considerable political instability over the past few decades.

Another is possible tension with Washington with the inauguration of a leftist leader espousing nationalistic policies.

La Hora says: "The result of the elections in Ecuador has defined the new political equilibrium in Latin America.

The future leader has promised to extend links with the region, despite ideological differences. This column applauds such intentions
La Hora

"Rafael Correa exemplifies the rise of the anti-establishment leaders of the continent, whose success reflects general disillusion with traditional politics and the unequal distribution of income which causes the poverty affecting 40% of Latin Americans."

The Quito paper goes on to suggest that the success of leftist governments "will further weaken the historic influence of the United States in a region where its economic and military interests are concentrated".

La Hora concludes: "The future leader has promised to extend [Ecuador's] links with the region, despite ideological differences. This column applauds such intentions."

No demagogy

An editorial in El Comercio argues that the Correa administration will need to tread carefully as it goes about changing from "economic liberalism which failed to change the structure of the state, to a political economy based on a nationalism favouring a strong state".

It warns against offending Washington unnecessarily, and calls on the new government "to heed popular expectations in favour of development without descending into facile demagogy".

Seek consensus without subjecting the country to debilitating confrontations

El Comercio also expresses concerns about the "the predisposition of a parliament at odds with the government and little disposed towards structural changes in the economy".

An editorial in Hoy echoes the concerns over a potential conflict between the president and Congress and appeals for "a well-ordered transition".

It calls for the two sides "to seek a consensus for political reform, without subjecting the country to unfruitful and debilitating confrontations".

Youth vote

Writing in El Universo, Hernán Pérez Loose praises Mr Correa for his "maturity" in openly admitting that "many people voted for him not because they backed his policies but because they did not want his opponent to win".

The president-elect received a popular mandate, but one which will prove difficult to carry out

"This is a good start, demonstrating as it does good sense and wisdom. Other leaders elected in similar circumstances refused to recognize this reality, whether through pride, vanity or simple ignorance. The results of this were catastrophic."

Nevertheless, the likelihood of conflict between Congress and the new president over "profound political reform" concerns Mr Perez Loose, and he suggests ways out of the cul-de-sac, including holding a plebiscite.

In the coastal city of Guayaquil, Expreso believes the country's youth played a major role in the Correa victory, "demanding a change to the old structures... of the old politicians bent on the maintenance of their privileges and interests".

"The president-elect received a popular mandate, but one which is complex, and will thus prove difficult to carry out."

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.

Correa 'wins Ecuador's election'
28 Nov 06 |  Americas
Ecuador votes for break with past
27 Nov 06 |  Americas
Profile: Ecuador's Rafael Correa
27 Nov 06 |  Americas
Country profile: Ecuador
16 Oct 06 |  Country profiles

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