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Ecuadorean president-elect names Cabinet; 7 women including first female defense minister

Ecuadorean president-elect names Cabinet; 7 women including first female defense minister

Ecuador President-elect Rafael Correa announced his 17-member Cabinet on Wednesday, appointing seven women to key posts including Ecuador's first female defense minister.
Correa told reporters he would "try to achieve gender equality." He acknowledged it was "something we are not going to reach, but at least we will get close."
New Defense Minister Guadalupe Larriva, the president of Ecuador's Socialist Party, will also be the first armed forces chief who never served in the military.
"Ecuador will really become a democracy when all the institutions of the state are clearly subject to civilian society," Correa said. "That is why it is very important to break the tradition of putting an ex-officer in charge of the Defense Ministry and put in a civilian, and if possible a woman."
Retired army Col. Luis Hernandez, a military analyst, called Larriva's appointment "positive" and said Ecuador's armed forces are prepared to take orders from a woman.
Also Wednesday, Correa said he is unconcerned by the soaring risk premium on Ecuadorean debt as determined by JPMorgan's Emerging Markets Bond Index Plus.
Correa, a leftist economist closely aligned with Venezuela's socialist President Hugo Chavez, has alarmed international investors with pledges to re-negotiate international oil contracts, rewrite Ecuador's constitution and restructure the foreign debt.
The higher risk premiums are "part of the aggression suffered by sovereign governments," Correa said. "Raising risk premiums is a way of saying, 'Behave yourself or we'll sic the boogeyman on you.'"
Soon after his election in November, Correa named leftist economists Ricardo Patino as finance minister and Alberto Acosta as energy minister.
On Wednesday, he announced that he will keep outgoing President Alfredo Palacio's ministers of tourism and the environment _ the only women in the current Cabinet _ as well as his education minister.
He chose his campaign manager, Gustavo Larrea, to be interior minister. Larrea will be tasked with a national referendum on a special assembly to draft a new constitution, a process similar to one already underway in Bolivia under leftist President Evo Morales.
Correa, who did not run a congressional slate, enjoys the support of only a small minority of center-left and leftist parties in the 100-seat legislature.
Critics say Correa is on a collision course with lawmakers, who have dismissed Ecuador's last three elected presidents after huge street protests demanding their ousters.
He takes office on Jan. 15.


Updated : 2021-05-15 02:19 GMT+08:00