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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 January 2007, 00:12 GMT
Ecuador swears in new president
Rafael Correa speaks after being sworn in as president
Mr Correa wants to curb the powers of political parties
Ecuador has sworn in its newly-elected president, Rafael Correa, who has promised a "citizens' revolution".

The left-wing economist's proposals include debt restructuring and less US involvement in Ecuadorean affairs.

Mr Correa vowed to repay foreign creditors only after the needs of Ecuador's poor had been met, and to rewrite the constitution.

Those at his inauguration included most regional leaders, Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Spain's crown prince.

Mr Correa, 43, told those gathered at his swearing-in ceremony that the established political institutions had failed his country.


Putting on the red, yellow and blue presidential sash, Mr Correa complained that Ecuador has ''a perverse system that has destroyed our democracy, our economy and our society".

Hugo Chavez, Rafael Correa and Evo Morales at the acceptance ceremony in Zumbahua
Hugo Chavez, Rafael Correa and Evo Morales are close allies

To thunderous applause, he spoke of a citizens' revolution, a revolution that had only just begun and that would bring about profound change.

The country has seen much political turmoil in recent years with eight presidents in the last decade. Only three presidents have succeeded in serving full terms since 1979.

After the inauguration, the new president signed a document calling for a referendum in March to set up an assembly to change the constitution so that the powers of the traditional parties are curbed.

"This is the first battle in a long war to retake our country," he said.

Indigenous backing

The BBC's South America correspondent, Daniel Schweimler says Ecuador's new president has some influential friends, but also some powerful enemies in a divided country.

He says the scene is set for a challenging first few months of Mr Correa's presidency.

On Sunday, the country's large indigenous community accepted Mr Correa as their leader at a ceremony in the Andes mountains.

He was accompanied by his key regional allies: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his Bolivian counterpart, Evo Morales.

"I will never fail you," Mr Correa told the crowd in the town of Zumbahua.

Mr Correa has also rejected a free trade agreement with Washington and has said he will not renew a treaty which allows the US to use an air base on the Pacific coast.

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

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