Ecuador’s youngest-ever President Daniel Noboa takes office

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Daniel Noboa has been sworn in as President of Ecuador, pledging to move the country forward, reduce poverty and tackle crime during his brief 18-month term in office. Noboa, now 35, a former lawmaker and son of banana exporting magnate Alvaro Noboa, becomes the youngest president in the history of Ecuador, reports Xinhua news agency. “I am a free and pragmatic man who seeks with empathy to improve the lives of Ecuadorians … I believe in a state whose primary goal is to reduce violence and make progress a habit,” Noboa on Thursday said before some 600 guests, including Colombian President Gustavo Petro, and international envoys gathering at the National Assembly, the country’s unicameral legislature.

In the brief speech after taking the oath of office, Noboa said that despite the difficult times Ecuador is undergoing, he decided to run for president for the good of the country and with a youthful vision that parts ways with politics as usual. “The task is hard and difficult and the days are few,” he said, adding he will strive to face the challenges. He called for national unity and urged political leaders to put aside their differences so as to concentrate on solving the major problems that afflict Ecuador. Noboa, from the National Democratic Action coalition, won the presidential runoff on October 15, in elections that were moved up after his predecessor, the embattled Guillermo Lasso, stepped down before the conclusion of his term in 2025.

Faced with impeachment, Lasso had dissolved the National Assembly in May and called for early elections amid the political crisis. Once considered one of the safest countries in the region, Ecuador has seen violence explode in recent years driven by rival drug-trafficking groups. Bloodshed reached an unprecedented crescendo with the murder of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio. Drug violence has led to some 3,600 murders so far this year, reports the Ecuadorian Observatory of Organised Crime. Noboa has said he will implement a state of emergency, suspend some citizen rights such as freedom of movement, and deploy the military to the streets.

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