German Calapucha, a 29-year-old accountant, said he voted against Correa because he’s tired of the president’s imperiousness.
‘‘He thinks that because he wins elections he has the right to mistreat people,’’ Calapucha said.
Correa has eroded the influence not just of opposition political parties but also of the Roman Catholic Church and independent news media. He has stacked courts with friendly judges and prosecuted indigenous leaders for organizing protests against Correa’s attempt to open up Ecuador to large-scale mining without their consent.
Meanwhile, Correa has been unable to stop a growing sensation of vulnerability in a country where robberies and burglaries grew 30 percent in 2012 compared with the previous year.
The graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign gained an early reputation as a maverick, defying international financiers by defaulting on $3.9 billion in foreign debt obligations and rewriting contracts with oil multinationals to secure a higher share of oil revenues for Ecuador.
He has also kept the United States at arm’s length while upsetting Britain and Sweden in August by granting asylum at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the online spiller of leaked U.S. government secrets who is wanted for questioning in Sweden for alleged sexual assault.
Correa has, meanwhile, cozied up to U.S. rivals Iran and China. The latter is the biggest buyer of Ecuador’s oil and holds $3.4 billion in Ecuadorean debt, according to Finance Minister Patricio Rivera.
Associated Press Writer Frank Bajak contributed to this report from Lima, Peru