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The BBC's Jim Fish reports
"Ecuador has now lurched back to the rails of democracy"
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The BBC's Rageh Omaar reports
"In the midst of celebration came strong international condemnation"
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Peter Greste in Quito
"Rolls of razor wire still litter the streets"
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Sunday, 23 January, 2000, 08:55 GMT
Ecuador: Noboa takes charge

Indians Indians head home after toppling a president

Ecuador's Vice President Gustavo Noboa has assumed the presidency with the backing of parliament and the military.

Mr Noboa was invited to take control by the three-man junta that ousted former President Jamil Mahuad after a series of protests led by indigenous Indians.

I find myself under the obligation of assuming the presidency of Ecuador. I have the support of the armed forces and national police
Gustavo Noboa
Congress endorsed the decision by a large majority.

Mr Noboa then went on television to promise that he would restore stability, while implementing measures to tackle Ecuador's recession-ravaged economy - the issue which provoked the protests and led to Mr Mahuad's removal from office.

In the television address he said: "Ecuador is immersed in the worst crisis of its history. It indiscriminately affects all levels of public and private activities.

"I will proceed to implement decisions that cannot be postponed in order to return to the normalcy of everyday life."

Surprise address

Mr Mahuad, who has reportedly been offered asylum in Chile, also appeared on television to give his support to the new president.

Gustavo Noboa: Gustavo Noboa: At the helm
In his surprise address, Mr Mahuad condemned Friday's events as a "national and international shame", but wished Mr Noboa the best of luck.

"I ask you to give Gustavo Noboa the support you did not give to me," he said in the broadcast. "The hours ahead for the president will be very hard... He needs the country's support.''

However, many of the Indians whose protests sparked the downfall of President Mahuad have said they are disappointed by the appointment.

Antonio Vargas Antonio Vargas: Not happy
They had supported the three-man junta - one of whose members was an Indian Antonio Vargas - that initially took control of the country.

Mr Vargas said pressure from the political right-wing and from the United States persuaded the junta's military leader, General Carlos Mendoza, to dissolve it and back Mr Noboa instead.

US dollar

Mr Noboa became Ecuador's sixth president in four years with the signing of a decree at the Defence Ministry.

He has already said he plans to continue with his predecessor's policy of adopting the US dollar as the country's currency.

My government will give due consideration to the aspirations of the indigenous people.
Gustavo Noboa
That scheme was strongly opposed by the country's indigenous Indians who led Friday's uprising.

Mr Mahuad's removal from office followed repeated calls for his resignation amid the current economic turmoil which has hit the Indians particularly hard.

US warning

General Mendoza said the decision followed talks with US officials who warned that Ecuador would lose aid and investment if it did not restore power to the elected government.

"What we were trying to do was prevent the international isolation of Ecuador," General Mendoza added.

Indians' complaints
Rampant inflation
Falling exports
Dollarisation policy
He said he had joined the junta in an effort to "prevent a bloodbath".

The changes in Ecuador's corridors of power began after thousands of indigenous Indians, backed by elements of the military, stormed parliament on Friday.

They said they had no faith in President Mahuad's ability to turn around the country's recession and called for his resignation. Elements of the military joined the protest.

Violence later spread to other parts of Ecuador, including the city of Portoviejo and the country's business capital, Guayaquil.

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See also:
22 Jan 00 |  Americas
South American democracy still strong
22 Jan 00 |  Americas
Ecuador coup condemned
22 Jan 00 |  Americas
In pictures: Ecuador coup
22 Jan 00 |  Americas
Coup declared in Ecuador
21 Jan 00 |  Americas
Ecuador president defies military
19 Jan 00 |  Americas
Ecuador Indians confront government
11 Jan 00 |  Americas
Bank approves Ecuador dollar plan
16 Jan 00 |  Americas
Ecuadorean protests flop
10 Jan 00 |  Americas
Ecuadorian cabinet out
09 Jan 00 |  Americas
Ecuador army backs president

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