Thousands of supporters marched toward the Electoral Council to join Lenin Moreno to officially register to run as the 2017 presidential candidate for Alianza Pais party and its Citizen Revolution, while Jorge Glas, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa's current vice president registered for reelection.
The groups — made up of young people, women, political organizations and politicians — met at 2 p.m. local time and marched around one of the main avenues in Quito called Los Shyris.
They were joined by even more people as they approached the offices of the Electoral Council, and had colorful flags, including the the ruling party and national flags, the rainbow flag for LGBTI rights, and several banners from Indigenous, youth and political organizations from around the country.
People chanted, “Moreno, our friend, the people are with you,” and “Alert! Bolivar's sword walks through Latin America.”
In a public address, Correa quoted Uruguay's former president Jose "Pepe" Mujica saying, "The best thing about a leader, would be that he could be replaced by thousands."
“Lenin is a working machine, with clean hands and a burning heart for this country,” he added to an exuberant crowd joined by national and international media.
A group of Indigenous organizations from the Amazon in their traditional dress, performed a dance to bring good luck to the candidates.
“Lenin will win in one round,” a group of Indigenous women told teleSUR, “the revolution will continue.”
Moreno was vice president from 2007 to 2013 and has been in in a wheelchair since being shot in 1998. He has since served as Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility at the United Nations.
He holds a 37 percent lead in polls over right-wing banker Guillermo Lasso from CREO; Cynthia Viteri of PSC; former military member Paco Moncayo from the National Agreement for Change; and Dalo Bucaram from Fuerza Ecuador and son of former president Abdala Bucaram.
In his public remarks, Moreno said he will continue to work toward providing free education and healthcare for children and adults and ensure the country does not only depend on exporting oil.
“Before the Citizens Revolution people were ashamed of their country, now they are proud of it,” said Moreno, to loud applause from the diverse crowd.
“I also come here to talk about the future, it’s not only about all the things we have done in the past, we will continue to work on them for the future,” said Moreno.
Glas responded to recent allegations that he had an account in a Panama tax haven, denying all claims and demanding the right-wing opposition show proof of the allegations.
“We keep our heads high, we can look the Ecuadorian people in the eye,” said Glas. “We are proud of everything we have accomplished.”
The Ecuadorian constitution allowed for unlimited consecutive re-elections for public office, but Correa proposed an amendment to restrict these limits in an effort to calm critics who accused the president of seeking to extend his time in power. Even though a referendum could repeal this law, Correa announced last year that he would not seek a third term.
The elections will take place on Feb. 19, 2017, and President Correa has expressed certainty that Alianza Pais will win without having to compete in a second round and without his running for re-election.