Ecuador’s Elections

Ecuador held presidential elections last weekend, and it looks like the left-wing candidate Lenin Moreno holds a lead but may not have exceeded the 40% threshold (and 10% difference with his nearest rival) to avoid a run-off. This from Reuters:

Ecuador’s leftist government candidate Lenin Moreno looked set for victory on Monday in a presidential election, but slow results meant it may take days to know if he will face a runoff with former banker Guillermo Lasso.

As results trickled in from Ecuador’s Andes, jungle, and Pacific coast, Moreno, a disabled former vice president, was just short of the 40 percent of votes and a 10 percentage-point difference over his nearest rival to win outright.
For more background on the election, see this piece on the Guardian that talks about how the left-wing tilt of the early 2000s in South America has subsided, but perhaps not in Ecuador where the ruling party may yet win, as Rafael Correa steps down:
The favourite is Lenín Moreno, a former vice-president under Correa who is standing for the ruling Alianza País coalition, but very different in style and politics from the outgoing president. As his first name suggests, Moreno is from a leftwing family, but he has a reputation for inclusiveness openness and humourthat earned him approval ratings above 90% when he quit the vice-presidency in 2013 to take up a United Nations post as special envoy on disability. If he wins, he would be the first paraplegic head of state, having used a wheelchair since he was shot in a robbery.

Voting is obligatory for the 12.8 million people eligible to cast a ballot in this country, which covers an area bigger than the United Kingdom and ranges from Amazon jungle and Andean mountains to the Pacific coast and the Galápagos Islands….

Correa leaves power with ratings around 40% – impressively high in a country where no previous leader in a century had lasted more than five years….

Most Ecuadorians are far better off than when he took power in 2007, poverty and inequality have gone down and infrastructure, schools and hospitals have been impressively upgraded….

But 10 years in power and a downturn in global oil prices have taken their toll.

Ecuador’s economy shrank by more than 2% last year and the IMF forecasts a similar decline in 2017. Many voters are weary of authoritarian leadership. Indigenous groups and environmentalists accuse the government of putting Chinese oil and mining interests above local people and protected areas in the Yasuni national park and among the Shuar territories near the southern border with Peru. The middle class complain of high taxes, excessive bureaucracy, clampdowns on NGOs and attacks on the media.


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