Ecuador ruling party chooses Correa ally as presidential candidate

Ecuador's then-Vice President Lenin Moreno gestures during an interview in Quito August 6, 2009. REUTERS/Guillermo Granja

QUITO (Reuters) - Ecuador’s ruling party tapped a former vice president and ally of leftist President Rafael Correa as its candidate for president on Saturday in an election to be held in February.

Lenin Moreno, 63, was Correa’s vice president from 2007 to 2013 and is currently a United Nations special envoy on disability and accessibility.

Moreno will campaign with current Vice President Jorge Glas as his running mate.

“We believe the best Ecuadorian to guide the next stage of this political process is this amazing human being Lenin Moreno,” said Correa during an event broadcast by state media.

Correa’s term ends in May 2017 after a decade of popular governance that has given the oil-rich country a socialist tinge. Moreno will likely compete against several opposition candidates, as the bloc is divided and weak.

Moreno, who is paralyzed and uses a wheelchair, pledged to continue Correa’s policies and said he would work hard for the values and rights of vulnerable groups such as people with disabilities and the elderly.

Reporting by Alexandria Valencia; Writing by Girish Gupta; Editing by Tom Brown