Rafael Vicente Correa Delgado 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 and unemployment in Ecuador. In contrast, he has been accused of authoritarianism, nepotism, attacking dissidents and curtailing freedom of speech.
Correa's first term in office had been due to end on 15 January 2011, with elections in October 2010, but the new approved constitution written by the new National Assembly mandated general elections for 26 April 2009.