Ecuador’s left-wing President, Rafael Correa, has launched his campaign for re-election with a rally in the capital Quito.
With the first round of the presidential election due to be held at the end of next month, a recent Gallup poll indicated he has enough support to stay in office.
He is expected to win 46 per cent of the vote, while his nearest rival, Alvaro Naboa, who lost to Correa in an election two years ago, is lagging way behind with just 14 per cent.
Correa is popular with the nation’s poor majority. An ally of socialist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, he has moved to increase state control over major industries and taken a tough stance against foreign companies since taking office in 2007.
He has pledged to continue what he calls his “Citizens’ Revolution.”
Ecuador’s relations with neighbouring Colombia are of concern to the international community.
Colombia has accused Venezuela of funding FARC Marxist rebels operating within its borders and diplomats fear the dispute could escalate if Correa joins forces with Chavez against the the US backed Colombian military.