Ecuador president taking leave in re-election bid

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Associated Press

Posted on January 2, 2013 at 7:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 2 at 7:03 PM

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — Ecuador's Congress has overwhelmingly approved a request by President Rafael Correa to take a monthlong leave of absence to focus on his re-election campaign.

Vice President Lenin Moreno will fill in for Correa starting Jan. 15. The election is Feb. 17.

Correa says he's taking the leave to be fair and pledges to avoid abusing his presidential powers. He told Congress on Wednesday: "I don't have to do it, but I prefer to avoid any suspicion."

But analysts say Correa will still enjoy vast powers even while nominally on leave.

For more than a century, Ecuador limited presidents to single terms, but the constitution was changed in 2008 to enable re-election.

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