Left-leaning economist Rafael Correa took the oath of office Friday for what he says will be his final term as president of Ecuador.

The 50-year-old Correa, who became head of state in 2007, convened an early election in 2009 under the new constitution he promoted.

He won that contest and was re-elected a second time in February of this year, garnering more than 57 percent of the vote in a field of seven candidates.

Correa begins the four-year mandate with his Alianza Pais party in possession of 100 of the 137 seats in Congress.

Ecuador is changing "profoundly and positively" in the economic, political and social realms and has already climbed into the upper tier of nations as measured by the United Nations' Human Development Index, he said in his inaugural address.

With an economy growing at an average annual clip of 4.3 percent, Ecuador has been able to lift more than 1 million people out of poverty since 2007, Correa said.

He also expressed a "healthy pride" in Ecuador's role as a leader in the inclusion of people with disabilities, hailing the efforts of his former vice president, Lenin Moreno, who has relied on a wheelchair since being shot a decade ago during a robbery. EFE