Are you wondering if you’re eligible to vote in Ecuador next year? Well, if you’ve been a legal expatriate in Ecuador for 5 years or more—as of August 8, 2020—then you are eligible to vote in next year’s Presidential election here in Ecuador. That’s because “The Code of Democracy,” in Article 78, defines the Electoral Registry as “the list of people over 16 years of age who may vote in each election. In that list are also foreigners residing in the country for at least five years;” the list was prepared with information from the Civil Registry dated August 8, 2020. Last Tuesday night, August 18,2020, the President of the National Electoral Council (CNE), Diana Atamaint, announced that there are 13,099,150 voters who will be allowed to vote for the Presidential binomial (President and Vice President), National and Provincial Assemblymen and Andean Parliamentarians. And your name might be on that list. But don’t worry, if you’ve had enough of Presidential elections for the next 4 years, foreigners who meet the 5-year requirement have the option to vote—they are not required to vote, unlike Ecuadorians between the ages of 18 and 65. Assuming you do want to vote here next year, you’ll want to keep in mind the following schedule that was set on March 12, 2020, by the CNE. Parties and Movements were required to carry out their internal voting processes to select their candidates by this past Sunday, August 23rd. A total of 18 parties and movements put forth candidates for next year’s election. In the next ten days, their candidates must accept the nominations in person before the National Electoral Council. However, between now and September 3rd, the parties and movements can begin to forge alliances. If two (or more) groups decide to join forces, the list of candidates can be adjusted. Those final candidates will then have to be registered by October 7th. Then, the electoral campaign to promote the candidacies of the Presidential, Andean Parliamentarians, Provincial and National Assembly members will begin on December 31, 2020 and end on February 4, 2021. For this upcoming election, there will be one Presidential debate held on Sunday, January 17, 2021. Finally, the election will take place on Sunday, February 7, 2021. But if you’re not familiar with Presidential elections in Ecuador, it’s important to understand that the country always has multiple candidates on the ballot and in order to be declared President, a candidate must receive at least 50% of the vote, OR at least 40% of the vote AND at least 10% more votes than the second-place candidate. If this does not happen, then there is a runoff election (scheduled for April 11, 2021 if needed) between the top two vote getters. This is what happened in 2017 when Lenin Moreno took 39.36% of the first vote and Guillermo Lasso took 28.09%. In the runoff election Moreno won with 51.16% of the vote to Lasso’s 48.84%.
2021 Presidential Candidates
The submission of candidates from 18 parties and movements has never happened in Ecuador’s history (e.g., in 2009, 2013 and 2017, only 8 candidates ran in the first round in each election). This year, there was even a member of a presidential binomial that backed out of the candidacy before it was ratified (Larissa Marangoni backed out of the Vice President slot for the Pachakutik party after a disagreement with indigenous leaders). Also, in a surprising move, former Vice President Otto Sonnenholzner announced on Thursday that he would not be seeking the presidency of Ecuador, saying that “in order to not disperse the vote” he would be retiring from politics. Just as surprising, businessman Álvaro Noboa ruled out participating in the 2021 elections and said that he prefers to continue “collaborating with the country, since economic reactivation is the main generator of employment in the country.” Probably the most amazing of all is that in this election, Ecuador will have fugitives from justice, politicians sentenced to jail, and even candidates with shackles under house arrest. Still to be resolved by the CNE is the legality of the vice-presidential candidacy of former President Rafael Correa. The ex-president is technically a fugitive and the CNE is expected to rule him ineligible to be a candidate. Assuming qualification by CNE, next year’s Presidential Binomial candidates are (in alphabetical order by last name):
Name: Gerson Almeida Party: Ecuatoriano Unido Age: 46 Running mate: Martha Villafuerte Economic-political vision: Left-Center. Biography Almeida was born in Brazil but lived much of his life in Quito. He is a Doctor of Jurisprudence and also has a master’s degree in theology. An evangelical pastor, Almeida founded the Christian Church Ministerio Betel Apostolic House. He is also the director of the Promoters of Change, a pro-life and pro-family movement. He is a rightist who wants to ban all abortions and reverse the law allowing gay marriage.
Name: Andrés David Aráuz Galarza Party: Unión por la Esperanza (UNES) Age: 35 years Running mate: Rafael Correa (Likely to be disqualified due to a felony conviction) Economic-political vision: Center-Left Biography Arauz, at 35 years old, is the youngest candidate in the field. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Mathematics from the University of Michigan, a Master’s in Development Economics from the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences. He was an advisor on Financial Policy of the Ministry of Coordination of Economic Policy from 2007-2009. In 2009 he joined the Central Bank of Ecuador, where he later became the general director of banking between 2011 and 2013. He was General Undersecretary of Planning for Good Living of the National Secretariat of Planning and Development from 2013-2015, and director General of the National Public Procurement Service in 2015. In March 2015, he was appointed Coordinating Minister of Knowledge and Human Talent in the government chaired by Rafael Correa, replacing Guillaume Long. He represents the Correista movement of the former president. Correa is his running mate but will probably be ruled ineligible due to a criminal conviction.
Name: Guillermo Alejandro Celi Santos Movement: SUMA (Society United for More Action) Age: 44 Running mate: Verónica Sevilla Economic-political vision: Center-Left Biography Celi, has been a national assembly member since 2017. He was a trustee of Portoviejo. He is one of the founders of the Pragmatic Ecuador collective, which eventually gave rise to the SUMA Movement, which he currently chairs. Before entering a political career, he worked as a lawyer and a university professor. He began his political life in 2009, when he participated in the sectional elections that year as a candidate for the prefecture of Manabí. In the legislative elections of 2013, he participated as a candidate for assembly in representation of the province of Manabí for the SUMA movement, and a year later he was appointed national director of the movement.
Name:Paúl Ernesto Carrasco Carpio Party: Juntos Podemos (JP) Age: 49 years Running mate: Julio Villacreses Economic-political vision: Cente Biography: Carrasco is a former three-term Prefect of Azuay; he announced his presidential candidacy for the Juntos Podemos (JP) movement in January. Carrasco also took a run at the Presidency in 2016. In 2019, Carrasco was a candidate for Mayor of Cuenca in the sectional elections and now his goal is to achieve “national unity.”
Name: Fabricio Delgado Correa Political Party: Justicia Social Age: 61 years Running mate: Marcia Yazbeck Education: Mechanical Engineer Vision economic policy: Right-Center. Biography Fabricio Correa had a role in the political life of the country in the government of his brother, Rafael. The relationship between the two broke down in 2009, as a result of the scandal of their contracts with the State. Rafael Correa said he did not know that his older brother, a businessman dedicated to construction, had business with public resources, using his presence in the Government. Fabricio Correa has said that there was corruption in his brother’s government. In 2011 he launched the opposition campaign ‘Ñaño, this time no’ with his Equity, Progress and Order (Team) movement.
Pedro José Freile
Name: Pedro José Freile Party: Amigo Age: Not available Running mate: Byron Solís Figueroa Economic-political vision: Center-Left Biography Freile is a lawyer, an expert in public contracting of major infrastructure projects. Currently, he is a strategic advisor for planning, entrepreneurship, and the construction of commitments between private sector entrepreneurs and the government. He has a BA in political science and is fluent in English and German. Freile also provides pro bono work in education through the Ecuadorian-German Association of Culture and Education, as director and member, as well as in health, through SOLCA (Society for the Fight against Cancer), where he served as a Member of the National Board of Directors. Amigo is a new movement that will make its political debut in the 2021 general elections.
Name: Lucio Gutiérrez Borbúa Party: Partido Sociedad Patriótica (PSP) Age: 63 years Running mate: David Norero Economic-political vision: Center Biography For the third time, Lucio Gutiérrez, 63 (a retired Colonel) will seek to return to the Presidency. He was overthrown as President during the so-called ‘outlaw rebellion’ on April 20, 2005. His first attempt to regain the Presidency was in 2009; he tried again in 2013. Gutiérrez has an engineering degree but became known in public life when he supported citizen protests for the banking holiday, which led to President Jamil Mahuad being overthrown in 2000. He was arrested for being part of a coup, but later received amnesty from Congress for the charges. He was President of the Republic between 2002 and 2005, when he was overthrown with several citizen protests, after his parliamentary majority dismissed the Supreme Court of Justice and several of his administration’s officials were involved in corruption cases.
Name: Party: Democratic Left Party (ID) Age: 47 Running mate: Not available Economic-political vision: Left Biography Hervas is a Guayaquil businessman and an agro-industrial production engineer. He has been the manager of companies in the agribusiness sector and is currently the President of NOVA, SA. He was nominated by the ID party after Inty Gronneberg, a young Ecuadorian entrepreneur, who was the virtual presidential candidate, declined the position on Saturday. Hervas has international business experience, forming relationships for Ecuadorian food product sales with other countries as far away as Saudi Arabia.
Name: Wilson Gustavo Larrea Cabrera Political Party: Democracia Si Age: 64 years Running mate: Alexandra Peralta Economic-political vision: Center-Left Biography He was a deputy between 1994 and 1996 for the no longer active Apre party. A year later, he was Administrative Undersecretary of the Ministry of Government and Police. A decade later, he was part of the foundation of the Alianza País movement and was Minister of Government and Police in the first year of the Rafael Correa Government. In 2008, he was in charge of the Internal and External Security Portfolio of Ecuador. Later, he separated from Correísmo. In May 2018, he achieved the registration of Democracia Sí in the National Electoral Council.
Name: Guillermo Alberto Santiago Lasso Mendoza Political Party: Creando Oportunidades(CREO) Age: 64 years Running mate: Alfredo Borrero Economic-political vision: Right Biography Guillermo Lasso, a 64-year-old former banker, is on his third attempt to claim the Presidency. He was a presidential candidate in 2013 and 2017; in the latter he reached the second round but lost by a 2.3% difference in votes to Lenín Moreno (AP). During the government of Jamil Mahuad, he was governor of Guayas and was then appointed super-minister of Economy of Ecuador, Governor of Guayas. During the government of Lucio Gutiérrez, he was Itinerant Ambassador of Ecuador. He was President of the Terminal Terrestre de Guayaquil Foundation. In the private sector, he was a member of the board of directors and President of Banco de Guayaquil.
Name: César Montúfar Mancheno Party: Concertación Age: 55 years Running mate: Julio Villacreses Economic-political vision: Center Biography Montúfar is a professor at the Simón Bolívar Andean University. He was director of the Citizen Participation Corporation, which began monitoring the electoral campaigns between 2002 and 2005. He then founded the Concertación movement, and in 2009 he reached the Pichincha deputation. He chaired the Manabí Anticorruption Commission following the 2014 earthquake. In 2019 he was a candidate for Mayor of Quito and came in third place. He appeared before the Prosecutor’s Office as a private accuser of Vice President Jorge Glas in the trial for Odebrecht’s corruption plot in 2017. His argument said that Glas was part of a network of organized crime that reached to the highest levels of the Government. Later, Glas with more evidence from the Prosecutor’s Office was sentenced to prison and was removed as the Vice President of Ecuador. Montúfar says he will propose a new Constitution if elected President.
Name: Ximena Peña Party: Alianza PAIS (Patria Altiva i Soberana) Age: 44 Running mate: Patricio Barriga Economic-political vision: Center-Left Biography Peña was born in Cuenca and emigrated to the United States when she was 19. She has a bachelor’s degree in finance and Investment and Economic Policy and an MBA with a focus in Economics and International Business. Before returning to Ecuador in 2013, Peña worked on Wall Street and for the US Social Security Administration. On February 17, 2013, she was elected as an Assembly Member on behalf of migrants from the United States and Canada, a position she has held since May 14, 2013. Ximena currently serves as a member of the Permanent Specialized Commission on Economic and Social Affairs. Tax and its Regulation and Control, of the National Assembly of Ecuador. Peña joined the Citizen Revolution in Ecuador in 2008 and continues to a strong supporter of former President Rafael Correa, who she served under as Secretary of Communications.
Name: Yaku Sacha Pérez Guartambel Movement: Pachakutik Age: 51 years Running mate: Larissa Marangoni (declined candidacy due to irreconcilable differences with indigenous leaders) Economic-political vision: Left-Center Biography The defense of water has been the banner of struggle of Yaku Pérez, who is a Doctor of Jurisprudence, specialized in Indigenous justice, environmental rights and criminology. He was President of the Confederation of Peoples of the Kichwa Nationality of Ecuador (Ecuarunari). Perez participated in days of protest in the governments of Lucio Gutiérrez, Rafael Correa and Lenín Moreno. In 1994 he was a Cuenca councilor and in the 2019 sectionals he won the Azuay Prefecture. He has entered three requests for a binding opinion in the Constitutional Court to process a popular anti-mining consultation.
Name:Esteban Leopoldo Quirola Bustos Party: Libertad es Pueblo Age: 41 Running mate: Juan Carlos Machuca Economic-political vision: Center Biography Quirola, is an economist and businessman. In the sectional elections of 2014, he participated as a candidate for the Prefecture of El Oro for the alliance between the Social Christian Party and the United Society of More Action (SUMA) movement, defeating the then prefect Montgómery Sánchez. He managed several economic and agrarian reactivation projects during his tenure. In 2019, he lost his reelection effort to Clemente Bravo.
Name: Cristina Eugenia Reyes Hidalgo Party: Partido Social Cristiano (PSC) Age: 39 Running mate: Diego Salgado Economic-political vision: Center-Right Biography Cristina Reyes studied law at the Catholic University of Santiago de Guayaquil and earned a master’s degree in Political Action from Francisco de Vitoria University in Spain. Prior to entering politics, she became well known as the Queen of Guayaquil and later as a television program reporter and host. In November 2007, Reyes became a member of the Constituent Assembly for the Social Christian Party where she joined the panel on Sovereignty and Latin American integration. In November 2012, she resigned as councilor to participate in the 2013 legislative elections and was elected as a National Assembly member representing Guayas province. During her term she was part of the Workers’ and Social Security Commission. In August 2017, she accused the Legislative Administration of inefficiency in an interview, which caused her to be sanctioned in January 2018 with a 10-day suspension without pay. She fought the charge and was granted protective action by the Judicial Branch.
Name: Isidro Romero Carbo Party: Avanza Age: 78 years Running mate: Sofía Merino Economic-political vision: Center-Right Biography Romero, at 78 years old, is the oldest candidate in the race. He is a businessman and well known in the sports world. He was the President of Barcelona Sporting Club and was the person in charge of the stadium that bears his name. Under his leadership, the team reached the final of the Copa Libertadores—it was the first Ecuadorian team to achieve this feat. He entered politics in 1996, when he was elected national deputy of the Christian Social Party (PSC) for Guayas. He has investments in several countries, mainly related to the real estate area.
Name: Miguel Salem Kronfle Party: Fuerza Ecuador (FE) Age: Not available Running mate: Gustavo Bucaram Ortiz Economic-political vision: Center-Left Miguel Salem Kronfle, former Secretary General of the Administration of the government of former President Abdalá Bucaram—who is the FE candidate for the National Assembly and is currently under house arrest for charges of fraud, weapons possession and being part of an organized criminal enterprise. Salem was implicated in the public “School backpack” scandal in 1996 along with Bucaram and three others. Salem was acquitted in the case. He was a legislator in 1996 and for 40 years he has been engaged in activities as an industrial entrepreneur. Salem’s running mate is Gustavo Bucaram Ortiz, Abdalá’s Bucaram’s brother.
Juan Fernando Velasco
Name: Juan Fernando Velasco Torres Party: Construye Movement Age: 48 Running mate: Ana María Pesmantes Economic-political vision: Center-Left Biography Velasco has been the Minister of Culture since June 28, 2019. He is also a well-known Ecuadorian musician who began his artistic career in 1987, at the age of 15, after joining the group Tercer Mundo. He originally studied economics at the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador in Quito but dropped out to pursue a career in music. In 1990 he and his family moved to New York where he study communications at Manhattanville College. In 1993, Velasco returned to Quito to resume his music career music. He has had three albums in the Pasillo style In addition to his professional achievements, he has received the Vicente Rocafuerte Order (2004), the highest recognition of the National Congress of Ecuador for Artistic Merit, and the designation as Ambassador of Peace (2004) by the Inter-American Platform for Human Rights.