Ecuador President Rafael Correa officially announced this weekend that he would run for a third term in February elections -- a contest in which he is expected to be the runaway favourite.
We are in the process of making history, and we will once again carry the citizens' revolution to victory, Correa told thousands of members of his Alianza Pais (Country Alliance) party at a stadium in the capital Quito.
“We have advanced much but there is still much more to accomplish” he added.
The populist Correa, who has led Ecuador, a nation of 14 million people since 2007, is currently far ahead in opinion polls, winning 56% support among likely voters.
Far behind is conservative banker Guillermo Lasso with 22% and former president Lucio Gutierrez with 23%, according to a recent survey carried out by the private Cedatos polling institute.
We will again take part in the elections, and we will win again, said Correa, whose nomination, as the only candidate for his party, was a formality.
The 49-year-old economist enjoys sweeping popular support for having pushed through key social programs and renegotiated contracts with oil companies.
More than 40% of Ecuadorians live below the poverty line, and political instability is common. But Correa has been criticized for attacks on press freedoms and he also faces strong opposition from the private sector and some indigenous groups who are against large-scale mining on their ancestral lands.
The Ecuadorian president is known for his criticism of the United States and is close to anti-US firebrand Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. In August, Correa granted political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Correa, who favours a strong state grip on the economy, first took power in 2007 after his election the year before. He was re-elected in 2009 in early elections called for in the country's new constitution.