For the first time in ten years, the elections for the next president of this Latin American country will be unparalleled. On the one side, Lenín Moreno, democratic candidate, follower and driver of Correa’s politics and, on the other hand, Guillermo Lassso, the right-wing opposition who could provoke a shake-up in the nation.
Virginia Moreno Molina
Since 2007, Rafael Correa has been the President of Ecuador. During his two terms leading the nation, he was a key ally of Hugo Chávez in his attempt to expand the politics of countries independent from US politics, and of large-scale integration in the continent.
In fact, in 2009, he introduced Ecuador to the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas, another demonstration of his efforts to integrate different nations of the zone.
In part because of this, despite having reduced poverty and unemployment levels in his country, on many occasions he has received criticism from diverse sources. He has been catalogued as too radical, and from within the US the attempt has been repeatedly made to oust Correa, without success.
It is only the impossibility of completing a third term consecutively that has impeded Rafael Correa from presenting himself again as leader of the country.
Presently, for the first time in many years, the differences between candidates do not appear so evident as on previous occasions.
Nevertheless, Lenín Moreno, former vice-president during Correa’s mandate and the most similar option in his political ideologies, emerges as a favourite to succeed Correa to power.
According to the critics, however, the right-wing candidate, Guillermo Lasso, is not sufficiently advanced in his career to secure the presidency of this Latin American country.
In order to decide upon the future of Ecuador, Ecuadorians went to vote in the polls on the 19th February.
London, in fact, is one of the foreign cities with the greatest representation of Ecuadorians, a statistic that approximates 10,000 people originating from this Latin American country.
In the face of this election, “participation has been at 50%” of those registered in London, as affirmed by Jorge Moreno, the Consul of Ecuador in the United Kingdom.
“It has been a very intense campaign and throug
hout the course of the year information was imparted about the candidates, informing people about the popular referendum and the electoral register”, he explained in declarations for The Prisma following the elections in his country.
Furthermore, he spoke of the possible future of Ecuador following the departure of Correa as president, a period which could be one of continuity “if Lenín Moreno wins”, acknowledges the Consul.
However, in his opinion “everything points to there being a second round in the elections.”
And this is how it will be. At almost the end of counting, the pairing of Alianza País, formed by Lenín Moreno and Jorge Glas obtained 39.33% of valid votes.
In the meantime Guillermo Lasso and Andrés Páez and, candidates of Creo-SUMA, obtained 28.1% of votes.
In order for the results to have been valid in this first round, one of the candidates would have needed to obtain either half of the votes or 40% of the same votes with a 10% margin over their closest adversary.
Nonetheless, neither of the two possibilities has been realised, and so on the 2nd of April the Ecuadorians will go and vote in a second round.
The past and the future
Considering Correa’s popularity and the clear opposition in the ideals of Lasso, it appears improbable that the latter would achieve victory in a county that has grown economically and socially within the last ten years.
However, Jorge affirms that “all governments wear and tear” after years in power. Even so, as he himself states, “one must be conscious of the transformation which President Correa has achieved in Ecuador.”
In fact, poverty rates have reduced from 38% to 23% during the two mandates of the previous president, affiliates of social security grew notably, from 600,000 affiliates to 3.8 million, and the State budget increased from 4,000 million to 30,000 million dollars.
The aforementioned facts are according to declarations made by the Ambassador of Ecuador in London, Carlos Abad, as he expressed to The Prisma in an interview conducted last year.
Although nothing is certain at the moment, due to the equal level of votes in these elections, it appears that the candidates “ought to reach an agreement”, at the time of making decisions for the future of the country, expresses Jorge Moreno.
What appears obvious is that a hypothetical victory on behalf of the candidate Guillermo Lasson would cut short the rise of the left which has been nurtured since the start of the Correa era.
For example, it could mean the end of Ecuador’s membership of the Bolivarian Alliance, which would be undoubtedly a situation that could affect the whole continent.
Currently, Ecuador positions itself as one of the last strongholds in Latin America of left-wing politics, which was impulsed by the designation of Chávez as Venezuelan president in 1998. Following this, left-wing movements arose in countries such as Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina and Ecuador itself.
Notwithstanding, in recent years there have been changes within governments, and in all the left-wing ideology has been defeated.
For this reason, the continent is watching intensely the result of these elections, and as the Consul, Jorge Moreno, confirms: “It will depend on who wins which path will follow to unite Latin America or alternative ideals”.
Possibly one of the most controversial cases having affected the global diplomatic milieu has been the protection of Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
Classified as a “pending issue” by Jorge Moreno, the remarks made by Guillermo Lasso in reference to the possible invalidation of political asylum for Julian Assange have provoked a media commotion.
It appears evident that his future is uncertain, and that a victory in the polls of the right-wing opposition could oblige him to abandon the Ecuadorian Embassy.
(Translated by Natalia Davies)