Ecuador heads to the polls this week to elect its next President (and Vice president and some Assembly members), in what is likely to be an historic outcome, moving the country either slightly to the right or firmly back into the far left that ruled during Rafael Correa’s 10 years as President.
The most recent polls show that Guillermo Lasso (the right) and Andrés Arauz (who originally chose Correa as his running mate before he was disqualified) are closely tied for the lead.
However, neither shows anywhere near the percentage required to not force a run-off election in April. Two recent polls have them each achieving somewhere between 24-34 percent of the vote.
Therefore, the president will likely be elected thru a modified two-round system, with a candidate required to get over 50% of the vote (unlikely) or get over 40% of the vote and be 10% ahead of their nearest rival to be elected in the first round (again, unlikely).
Assuming the polls are correct, Mr. Lasso may find himself in a second, second-round runoff for President, having lost one to Lenin Moreno in 2017. The final vote was 51.15% for Moreno and 48.84% for Lasso (confirmed after a recount).
Mr. Lasso dismissed the recount as a “show” and a “maneuver” by the governing party of Mr. Moreno “to legitimize a process which has been less than transparent.” But monitors from the Organization of American States said they considered “a recount of this magnitude and under these norms to be an exercise in transparency.”
This time around, Lasso will be facing a relative newcomer to presidential politics in Arauz. However, what Arauz has going for him is the support of Correa, who is still very popular among Ecuador’s indigenous and poor populations. Arauz has even gone as far as saying that if he is elected, Correa will play some role in his government (which will surely face legal challenges).
The interesting thing in this year’s election is that there are 16 candidates in total, so Lasso and Arauz can’t necessarily rest assured that they will end up running against each other.
So, to give our readers a chance to try to get a sense of each of those candidates, we offer the following seven stories that are each candidate’s answers for a specific question.
Some are very enlightening, others intriguing, and then, some are just so off base that we raise an eyebrow while wondering if the candidate had his or her drink spiked with scopolamine (as one candidate claimed happened to him before the second presidential debate).
The presidential election will occur on Sunday, February 7, 2021.