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Lenin Moreno The moderate face of Ecuador's socialism

The 64-year-old leftist narrowly defeated his conservative rival, Guillermo Lasso, in Sunday's runoff election.

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Moreno has published a series of books about how humor helped him overcome his disability play

Moreno has published a series of books about how humor helped him overcome his disability


Lenin Boltaire Moreno, who is set to become Ecuador's next president, is a wheelchair-bound social welfare champion known for his affable manner and easy smile.

The 64-year-old leftist follows the temperamental Rafael Correa in office and has promised to extend his predecessor's decade-long socialist policies.

Moreno narrowly defeated his conservative rival, former banker Guillermo Lasso, in Sunday's runoff election.

Moreno, whose legs were paralyzed in a 1998 carjacking, was Correa's vice president 2007-2013.

He will become Ecuador's first wheelchair-using president, and one of the very few such politicians in the world ever to lead a country.

Unlike the sometimes volatile Correa, who has clashed with the news media and business interests, Moreno has a calm personality and is known to dislike conflict.

While campaigning Moreno acknowledged that a less confrontational governing style was needed, as he described one open to dialogue and "the extended hand."

Lenin - as his supporters call him - was born in the village of Nuevo Rocafuente, in Ecuador's Amazon jungle region on the border with Peru.

His parents were teachers who had moved to the remote riverside town that was not reachable by road.

"Dad had socialist ideas and mom had liberal ideas. They liked to read a lot; for dad, it was Lenin, for mom, Voltaire," Moreno said.

Local birth registry officials clearly had not read the French Enlightenment writer because they mistakenly wrote his middle name down as Boltaire.

In college Moreno studied public administration, with classes in medicine and psychology.

Later in life Moreno led a task force on disability rights that earned him a nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2012.

He also published a series of books about how humor helped him overcome his disability.

"Humor is good for the health," he once said. "That's why doctors don't prescribe it."

Where Correa is stern and combative, notably with regard to the United States, Moreno is more quietly spoken, known for cracking jokes in his campaign speeches.

He says he prefers "the style of dialogue, of reaching out."

Correa himself has described Moreno as "affable and conciliatory."

However he also detests tardiness, is a demanding boss, and is angered by dishonesty.

Moreno's campaign policies include action against child malnutrition and domestic violence.

He has pledged to boost business through loans and try to spur consumption.

On the campaign trail he promised to maintain Correa's socialist policies "with certain important variations", while also skirting around allegations linking Correa allies to corruption scandals.

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