(Updates Correa has pneumonia)
By Alexandra Valencia
QUITO May 24 Lenin Moreno was sworn in as
Ecuador's president on Wednesday following a tight electoral
race that the former vice president won on promises of
maintaining the social programs of his leftist predecessor,
The 64-year-old socialist won a runoff last month in the
oil-exporting country, bucking a shift to the right in South
America as leftist governments struggle to maintain support.
He has promised a more conciliatory style and open dialogue
with adversaries and foreign companies, in contrast to Correa's
often combative manner.
"I am the president for all of you. I owe you all a great
debt and respect you all," Moreno said after a ceremony at the
country's National Assembly.
Engineer Jorge Glas, a childhood friend of Correa, continues
as vice president.
Hours after the ceremony, Correa, 54, who served as
president for 10 years, was taken to a hospital. An aide said
Correa had pneumonia.
For the next four years, Moreno, who once served as vice
president under Correa, said he would continue his predecessor's
fight for the poor with a social plan that includes free
education, health and housing for lower-income families, and
subsidies to eradicate extreme poverty.
He promised a change of style, based on dialogue and
openness with the private sector, as well as with the media.
"All of us will form part of a deeply enriching national
dialogue," said Moreno, offering an olive branch to the press,
saying it was part of that conversation.
Correa's critics in the media have long complained of being
Moreno must deal with an economy suffering high job demand
and heavy public debt as well as major corruption allegations
against outgoing officials.
He promised more support for agriculture and tourism, adding
he would provide cheap credit and push to modernize
Debt terms will be improved, he said, and the relationship
between the state and multinationals transformed.
His oil minister, Carlos Perez, is a former Halliburton
(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and