Rafael Vicente Correa Delgado (born 6 April 1963), is the President of the Republic of Ecuador and the former president pro tempore of the Union of South American Nations. An economist educated in Ecuador, Belgium and the United States, he was elected President in late 2006 and took office in January 2007. In December 2008, he declared Ecuador's national debt illegitimate, based on the argument that it was odious debt contracted by corrupt and despotic prior regimes. He announced that the country would default on over $3 billion worth of bonds; he then pledged to fight creditors in international courts and succeeded in reducing the price of outstanding bonds by more than 60%. He brought Ecuador into the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas in June 2009. To date, Correa’s administration has succeeded in reducing the high levels of poverty, indigence, and unemployment in Ecuador.
Correa's first term in office had been due to end on 15 January 2011, but the new approved constitution written by the new National Assembly mandated general elections for 26 April 2009. In that election, Rafael Correa won in the first round with 51.9% of votes counted. It was the first time since 1979 in which a representative was elected without having to face a second round.
Correa was re-elected in 2013 with over 57% of the vote. On 17 February 2013, Correa won his country's presidential election for a third time, defeating Guillermo Lasso, and was elected for another four-year term. Former President Osvaldo Hurtado, a conservative in the Christian Democratic party, said that Correa has conjured "a perfect dictatorship" by manipulating democratic institutions much as many say Chavez has in Venezuela. Correa was a close ally of (deceased) President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and is firmly in South America's leftist bloc.