| GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador
GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador Feb 25 Ecuador's President
Rafael Correa on Tuesday said he will ask for his cabinet's
resignation and reshape his political party after the loss of
the capital city of the oil-producing Andean nation to the
opposition in local elections.
Opposition candidates on Sunday won elections to run the
local governments of Quito and industrial city Cuenca, and
maintained control of the economic capital and port city of
Guayaquil in an unsettling result for the government.
"There will be a cabinet crisis," Correa told reporters in
the port city of Guayaquil, adding that he had considered
changing his government ministers prior to the vote.
"The problem isn't the government; it could win many posts
... we believe in any case that fresh air is needed."
He said he would restructure his Alianza Pais or Country
Alliance movement that has sought to make its socialist
"Citizen's Revolution" the defining feature of its government, a
project which aims to reduce poverty and social inequality.
Correa said the loss of Quito was painful and could make the
country ungovernable. He accused associates of the winner,
Mauricio Rodas, of links with the "fascist right" wing in
Venezuela has been shaken by a fortnight of violent
opposition protests over inflation, crime and economic shortages
that its socialist President Nicolas Maduro has blamed on
"fascists" seeking a coup with the backing of the United States.
Correa had warned in the run-up to the elections that defeat
in the capital city could tempt opposition leaders to use their
power to destabilize the country, a tactic he said was behind
the protests in Venezuela.
Analysts say the defeat in Ecuador reflects dissatisfaction
among the electorate over the Correa administration's perceived
interference in local government and harsh criticism of
opponents during the campaign, and may force him to adopt a more
Correa denied the election was a disaster for his movement,
pointing out that the party received the most votes overall
Ecuador is the smallest member of the OPEC group of oil
producing nations, with output averaging 520,000 barrels per day
(Additional reporting by Alexandra Valencia in Quito, Writing
by Helen Murphy; Editing by Peter Murphy and Lisa Shumaker)