January 19, 2008 / 9:34 PM / 12 years ago

Ecuador's Correa backers march amid lower ratings

GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa led thousands in a march on Saturday to mark his first year in office, in a show of support for the leftist leader despite his falling approval ratings.

More than 40,000 people waving the green flags of Correa’s Alianza Pais party flooded the main avenue of the coastal city of Guayaquil and chanted, “Guayaquil is with Correa.” Guayaquil is Ecuador’s most populous city.

“Long live the citizens’ revolution,” yelled Correa, a 44-year-old economist who has increased his powers through a series of political victories over a fractured opposition. “We have buried the political old guard.”

A Cedatos-Gallup poll released this week showed Correa’s popularity dropping to 57 percent, close to a record low due to what respondents cited as his confrontational style. Analysts say the declining numbers could tame Correa’s leftist policies in the volatile country.

Correa has clashed repeatedly with the mayor of Guayaquil, Jaime Nebot, over influence in the city. Nebot plans a street march next week to protest government policies he says hurt the city’s finances. (Reporting by Guillermo Granja; Writing by Alonso Soto; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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