QUITO, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- Ecuador's presidential election is heading to a runoff between the ruling party candidate Lenin Moreno and the opposition right-wing candidate Guillermo Lasso, according to results released by National Electoral Council (CNE) on Thursday.
With 99.5 percent of the votes counted, Moreno, from the PAIS Alliance Party, won 39.3 percent of the vote, while his closest contender Lasso received 28.1 percent in the first-round race on Sunday.
The following is a brief introduction to Moreno.
Born into a middle-class family in Nuevo Rocafuerte, a small town in the Amazonian province of Orellana in 1953, Moreno later moved with his family to the capital, Quito, where he studied and obtained a degree in public administration.
Moreno began his career in 1976 as the director of the Continental Professional Training Center. Years later, he took an administrative post with the government.
From 2007 to 2013, Moreno served as vice president of the country, serving under President Rafael Correa. On Oct. 1, 2016, he was nominated as a presidential candidate by his party.
In 1998, he was shot in the back by armed assaulters, leaving him paralyzed. Being wheelchair-bound did nothing to dampen his activism in Ecuador's progressive political circles.
After surviving the assault, Moreno gained a new perspective on life and embarked on a career as a motivational speaker and author, writing some 10 books on the subject of overcoming adversity, including "Theory and Practice of Comedy" and "Philosophy for Life and Work."
As former vice president under Correa, Moreno is known for his work in defending the rights of people with disabilities.
The father of three daughters spearheaded social, medical and economic programs for the disabled, a segment long overlooked in Ecuador, as in most developing countries.
He received numerous international awards for his initiatives and was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2012.
In 2013, he left the vice presidency after then United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon named him as special envoy on Disabilities and Accessibility, a post he served until September 2016, when he was nominated his party's candidate in the presidential election.
He has pledged to focus on creating 250,000 jobs a year and building 325,000 homes annually, simplifying the tax system, promoting young entrepreneurs, and instituting a pension plan for elderly people not covered by social security, among other things.
Meanwhile, he has pledged to continue the "Citizen Revolution" begun by President Rafael Correa.