Sixto Durán Ballén

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Sixto Durán-Ballén
Sixto duran ballen.JPG
President of Ecuador
In office
August 10, 1992 – August 10, 1996
Vice President Alberto Dahik (1992–1995)
Eduardo Peña (1995–1996)
Preceded by Rodrigo Borja
Succeeded by Abdalá Bucaram
Mayor of Quito
In office
August 1, 1970 – February 16, 1978
Preceded by Jaime del Castillo
Succeeded by Álvaro Pérez
Personal details
Born Sixto Alfonso Durán-Ballén Cordovez
(1921-07-14) July 14, 1921 (age 93)
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Nationality Ecuadorian
Political party Republican Union Party (1991–)
Social Christian Party (1951–1991)
Spouse(s) Josefina Villalobos
This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Durán-Ballén and the second or maternal family name is Cordovez.

Sixto Alfonso Durán-Ballén Cordovez (born July 14, 1921) is an American-born Ecuadorian political figure and architect. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, he served as Mayor of Quito between 1970 and 1978, and as President of Ecuador between 1992 and 1996. He served as congressman in 1984 and again in 1998.

Political career[edit]

Durán was one of the founders of the Catholic Social Christian Party (PSC). Under the presidency of his party colleague Camilo Ponce Enríquez, he served as minister of public works from 1956 to 1960. Subsequently, he worked for the Inter-American Development Bank. He was elected mayor of Quito in 1970 and re-elected in 1974. In 1979 he ran as the PSC's presidential candidate, but was defeated by the populist Jaime Roldós Aguilera. In 1988 he ran again, but was eliminated in the first round, which he blamed on the tarnished image of León Febres Cordero's government.[1]

At the end of 1990 he publicly criticized the direction of the PSC in a public letter and, after a PSC faction succeeded in appointing Jaime Nebot as the its presidential candidate and national director during the 1991 internal elections (despite opinion polls reportedly giving him advantage over Nebot),[2] Durán Ballén and his supporters left the party to form the more right-wing Republican Union Party.[3] They subsequently entered in an alliance with the Conservative Party.[4][5] Eventually, Durán defeated Nebot in the second round of the 1992 presidential election.

During his time as president he actively pursued structural reform to modernize the Ecuadorian state and cut down wasteful bureaucratic spending. The result was a significant reduction of government deficits and a thriving private sector. Durán-Ballén also led Ecuador into membership in the WTO, with negotiations being led by his subsecretary of Foreign Affairs, Patricio Izurieta Mora-Bowen. The admission to the WTO had a significant impact on the country's political institutions and export competitiveness.

In 1995 Durán-Ballén proved to be one of Ecuador's most successful war-time leaders when his determined leadership united a divided country under the theme Ni un paso atras which means "not a single step backwards" during the Cenepa War with Peru.

His term was also characterized by continued political stalemate with a Congress led by his former party, which spearheaded many of the corruption allegations against his administration and members of his family, accused of illicit enrichment, in cases such as "Flores y Miel" ("Flowers and Honey"). The impeachment of his Vice President Alberto Dahik, for allegedly using public funds illicitly, further weakened his stance.[6]

References[edit]

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Preceded by
Rodrigo Borja
President of Ecuador
1992-1996
Succeeded by
Abdalá Bucaram