Lenin Moreno. (Twitter)

Ecuador’s President-elect Lenin Moreno, who became paraplegic after being shot during a burglary and “put rights for disabled Ecuadoreans at the heart of his campaign,” inherits a difficult economy as he takes the helm of a nation still recovering from a terrible earthquake.

From Reuters:

Moreno, a former United Nations special envoy on disability and accessibility, has a more conciliatory style than the fiery [President Rafael] Correa and has promised to reach out to opponents and business sectors.

He will be under pressure to create jobs and crack down on graft amid corruption scandals at state-run oil company PetroEcuador and Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht.

[Opponent Guillermo] Lasso had criticized Moreno as being ill-equipped to deal with economic issues and warned that his major social promises would hit already pressured coffers in a country dependent on exports of oil, bananas and shrimp.

“Moreno’s margin of victory was much smaller than those of his predecessor, Rafael Correa, leaving him in a much weaker spot,” said John Polga-Hecimovich, a political scientist at the U.S. Naval Academy.

“He has the advantage of a legislative majority (for now), but his government will have to confront fiscal restraints, a stagnant economy, and the burden of a recovery from last April’s earthquake.”

On Monday, Moreno’s victory celebrations were tempered by fraud allegations made by Lasso, who was expecting to win the election based on exit polling data. The conservative opponent stated, “I’m warning the world that in Ecuador procedures are being violated, and they’re trying to swear in an illegitimate government on May 24 … This is a clumsy fraud attempt.”

Meanwhile, Latin American leaders such as Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro and Bolivia’s Evo Morales congratulated the socialist on his win, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange reportedly was relieved, since Lasso had promised to remove the activist from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where Assange currently resides.

The WikiLeaks founder tweeted a cutting remark about Lasso, who is suspected of tax evasion.

Assange also published WikiLeaks links to U.S. diplomatic cables regarding the Ecuadorean president-elect.

Intercept journalist Glenn Greenwald had criticized American liberals for siding with Lasso over ending Assange’s asylum, after resentment toward the WikiLeaks founder built among Democrats because he leaked Democratic National Commitee emails during the 2016 presidential election.

— Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata

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