Ecuador Elections

Article excerpt

QUITO, Ecuador (AFP) - Almost 12 million people are eligible to vote in Ecuador's presidential election on Sunday, with President Rafael Correa tipped to win re-election by a landslide.

Here are facts about the Andean nation:

GEOGRAPHY

Flanked by Colombia to the north and Peru to the south and east, Ecuador covers 256,370 square kilometers. It is a mountainous nation on South America's Pacific coast and home to the famous Galapagos island. Its capital, Quito, is 2,800 meters (9,186 feet) above sea level and its industrial hub is the port of Guayaquil.

POPULATION, RELIGION, LANGUAGES

Almost one-third of its 15.4 million people are indigenous while 55 percent are of mixed race. Around 85 percent of the population is Roman Catholic. The official language is Spanish but several indigenous languages, including Quechua, are spoken.

HISTORY

Ecuador was part of the northern Inca empire until it was invaded by Spain in the 16th century. It was under Spanish rule until 1822, when it became part of the Gran Colombia federation of South American independence hero Simon Bolivar. It became an independent republic in 1830. The election of President Jaime Roldos Aguilera in 1979 brought an end to military rule. …