QUITO – Lenin Moreno was sworn in Wednesday as Ecuador’s president in front of hundreds of guests at the National Assembly in Quito.
The 64-year-old Moreno took the oath of office for a four-year term before a group of Ecuadorian dignitaries and foreign leaders.
The audience chanted “Lenin, Lenin!” and then burst into applause shortly before Moreno’s mentor and predecessor, left-wing three-term head of state Rafael Correa, draped the presidential sash over him.
Correa embraced his successor before they and the president of that unicameral legislature – Jose Serrano, who had sworn in Moreno – greeted the guests from the assembly floor.
“It’s just a short rest, Rafael!” someone said from the audience during the ceremony, referring to the possibility Correa could take advantage of a constitutional amendment approved in December 2015 and seek a fourth term in office in 2021.
Despite the amendment, he was ineligible to run in this year’s election.
Moreno, who narrowly beat out conservative Guillermo Lasso in an April 2 runoff, issued a call for unity in his inauguration speech.
“We’re all made from the same Ecuador, and we share the (same) air and oxygen with our brothers,” said Moreno, who served as Correa’s vice president from 2007 to 2013. “We are one and we are all. We’re diverse. We come from the same history.”
Moreno also said Ecuador, which adopted the United States greenback as legal tender in 2000 amid a severe economic crisis, would retain dollarization and pledged not to introduce a parallel currency.
In addition, the new president called for greater government belt-tightening and said enhanced productivity was the key to solving Ecuador’s economic problems.