13 million Ecuadorians are being called to the polls on April 11 to choose their future president. In ballot, the socialist Andrés Arauz, who came first in the first round, and the former liberal-conservative banker Guillermo Lasso.
The second round of the presidential election will oppose this April 11 two conflicting projects for Ecuador. To the right of the political spectrum, former banker Guillermo Lasso, from the Create Opportunities movement (Creo), unsuccessful candidate for the 2013 and 2017 elections; on the left, the young economist Andrés Arauz, of the Union pour l’Esperance (Unes) coalition, a candidate supported and supported by the former socialist president Rafael Correa (2007-2017). The latter currently lives in Belgium, where his wife is from, and is prohibited from standing for election in his country because of convictions for corruption which he denounces as “lawfare” – namely the use of judicial for political purposes.
Some 13.1 million voters are being called to the polls to elect the successor to the unpopular President Lenin Moreno, whose four-year term expires on May 24 and who does not stand for re-election.
The polls which gave from the first round Andrés Arauz winner with a advance by several points on his opponent were somewhat reversed less than two weeks before the election, giving, for some, a slight lead to Guillermo Lasso who is leading a dynamic and offensive campaign. But ultimately, the latest estimates, a few days before the election, predominantly give Andrés Arauz largely a winner.
The shadow of Correa and Moreno
In Ecuador, the debates centered around the two presidential figures, Rafael Correa and Lenin Moreno.
The charismatic personality of Rafael Correa, admired in the popular categories for his “citizen revolution”, has to a large extent allowed Andrés Arauz, unknown to the general public a few months ago, to reach the top of the first round. with 32.72% of the votes.
Lenin Moreno, on the other hand, puts everyone in agreement against him. The candidates’ campaign for the 2021 presidential election thus consisted of standing out from the record of this unpopular outgoing president and accusing opponents of being in contact with his outgoing government. After having been the vice-president of Correa (2007-2013), Moreno was elected president of the country in 2017 under the colors of Correism whose socialist project he was supposed to pursue. But very quickly, the man does an about-face, begins to apply a liberal policy, approaches Donald Trump and the IMF and goes so far as to say that he feels “hate” for those who voted for him. The Corréistes then live what some of them qualify as “Shakaespearean tragedy”, finding themselves betrayed by the one who was supposed to carry their project.
During this presidential campaign, all the candidates therefore shoot red balls on the outgoing president. Andrés Arauz keeps accusing Guillermo Lasso of having actively supported Moreno’s policy and to have financially benefited from his proximity to him, while Lasso reminds the Corréistes that they themselves brought Moreno to power and makes them bear responsibility for his record, which they have been denouncing for nearly four years. Lasso also seeks to scare the potential voters of Arauz by accusing the latter of wanting to make Ecuador a new Venezuela, a country plunged into a serious economic crisis, recalling Correa’s proximity to Venezuelan presidents Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro. To do this, photos of beggars presented as Venezuelans and displaying signs bearing the inscription “Vote well!” have flourished on social networks. The corréistes accuse the Lasso camp for paying these poor people to run a “dirty campaign”.
The 3rd candidate calls for a null vote
While nothing has yet been won for the two candidates, the indigenous ecological leader Yaku Perez, who came third in the first round with 19.39% of the vote just behind Lasso (19.74%), calls on his supporters to vote zero .
Claiming that the results were skewed to exclude him from the second round, he lodged an appeal with the Electoral Disputes Tribunal (TCE) asking for the recount of around 50% of the votes in the first round. But the body ruled on March 14 that there was not “sufficient evidence” to establish that there was fraud in the first round and, accordingly, rejected the request.
The environmental candidate described the TCE’s sentence as “deplorable”. Frustrated to have come so close to the second round, Yaku Perez and the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie) reject the two candidates and decided to call for a null vote. They seem to have been partly heard, the polls giving the blank and null votes of 19 to 38% of the votes for the second round. However, a few days before the ballot, many personalities of the indigenous movements, and even of the Pachakutik party of Yaku Perez finally decided to openly support the candidate Andrés Arauz. Among them, the President of Conaie, Jaime Vargas.
No or no vote, no matter what, in the end there will be only one left. The health crisis has hit Ecuador hard, a small country of 17.4 million inhabitants which has more than 16,200 deaths from Covid-19 according to official figures. The country ended 2020 with a GDP in free fall (-9%), a poverty rate rising to 32.4% and unemployment at 5.7% in January, according to AFP.
To alleviate the urgency, Andrés Arauz proposes to pay 1,000 dollars to a million families during his first month in power. Guillermo Lasso, for his part, promises the creation of a million jobs during the first year of his mandate, the increase of the minimum wage and the abolition of certain taxes, while Arauz proposes to increase the income tax. Income. In short, if elected, the socialist Arauz would bet on strengthening the state and increasing public spending while promoting entrepreneurship; while the liberal Lasso would seek to strengthen the private sector, to the detriment of the state coffers. Everyone is in their role.