Noboa sworn in as Ecuador’s president

2023 11 23T232033Z 1 LYNXMPEJAM0JG RTROPTP 4 ECUADOR POLITICS scaled
Ecuador's President Daniel Noboa signs first decrees to appoint ministers, at the Presidential Palace (Palacio de Carondelet) on the day of his swearing-in ceremony, in Quito, Ecuador November 23, 2023. REUTERS/Karen Toro

Daniel Noboa, the 35-year-old heir of a banana business empire, has officially assumed the role of Ecuador’s new president, pledging to tackle violence and foster job creation in a nation deeply impacted by a violent drug war. Securing victory in a runoff vote in October, Noboa’s platform centred on restoring security and addressing unemployment issues exacerbated by the economic challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

His inauguration, attended by Colombian President Gustavo Petro, followed the decision of former President Guillermo Lasso to call for snap elections, due to potential impeachment risks. Noboa’s tenure is limited to 18 months, covering the remainder of Lasso’s term.

In his inaugural address to the National Assembly lawmakers in Quito, Noboa emphasised the need to combat violence and declared his intent to urgently introduce reforms for job creation. Once recognized as one of the safest countries in the region, Ecuador has witnessed a surge in violence, driven by rival drug-trafficking factions, resulting in an alarming number of murders, including the assassination of a presidential candidate.

Noboa’s proposed measures include the implementation of a state of emergency, the suspension of certain citizen rights, such as freedom of movement, and the deployment of military forces on the streets. Additionally, he envisions the creation of offshore prisons on barges to isolate the most violent inmates.

Born in the port city of Guayaquil, raised by his billionaire father who owns a banana empire, Noboa graduated with a degree in business administration from New York University and also has three master’s degrees from prestigious institutions like Harvard, Northwestern, and George Washington universities. His start into business began at the age of 18 with the establishment of his own events company, before joining the family business.

While Noboa’s National Democratic Action alliance secured only 17 parliamentary seats out of 137 in the October election, he has strategically formed alliances with the leftist movement of former President Rafael Correa and the right-wing Social Christian Party to consolidate majority support for key political appointments.

 

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