The Korea-backed candidate from Ecuador will face the Banana Heir in the second round


Presidential candidate of the Citizens Revolution Movement (Ciudadana Revolution) coalition Luisa Gonzalez speaks during a press conference after the presidential election on August 20, 2023 in Quito, Ecuador.

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Two former deputies, leftist Luisa Gonzalez and businessman Daniel Noboa, will vie for Ecuador’s presidency in an October runoff, having topped in the first round of voting at the weekend.

Gonzalez, a protégé of former President Rafael Correa who promised to revive his social programs, received support with 33%, while Noboa, son of prominent banana businessman and former presidential candidate Álvaro Noboa, was surprisingly second with 24% of the vote. .

The competition was darkened by the assassination of anti-corruption candidate Fernando Villavicencio earlier this month. The crime is still being investigated, but Villavicencio, who has been replaced by his friend and fellow investigative journalist Cristian Zurita, is in third place with 16%.

Villavicencio’s name appeared on the ballot papers because they were printed before he was killed.

Sharp increases in crime, which the current government blames on drug cartels, and a faltering economy, whose troubles have caused soaring unemployment and immigration, were top concerns for voters as they headed to the polls on Sunday.

Gonzalez pledged to free up $2.5 billion in international reserves to support Ecuador’s economy and reinstate the million-dollar social initiatives that Correa – who has since been convicted of corruption – implemented during his decade in power.

Noboa apparently garnered support after performing well in the campaign’s only televised debate.

Noboa was a lawmaker until incumbent President Guillermo Lasso dissolved the National Assembly and called snap elections. Noboa has focused his campaign on job creation, tax incentives for new businesses, and prison sentences for serious tax evasion.

Acción Nacional Democrática presidential candidate Daniel Noboa (C) speaks during a press conference after the presidential elections on August 20, 2023 in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

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Political analyst Alfredo Espinoza said that although Noboa is likely to seek alliances with candidates who have dropped out of the race, any potential victory will depend on how clearly he articulates policy proposals.

“Noboa tried to sell himself as a young entrepreneur and technocrat,” said Espinosa. “He showed it when he talked about how to run hydroelectric dams (during the televised debate).” “If he could do the same exercise with the (other) candidates’ proposals it would give his speech a lot more meaning.”

“Politics cannot be compared to running private business,” said Espinosa, “it means finding consensus, creating spaces for dialogue.”

The political analyst said that Gonzalez, who is backed by the Correa political machine and has dedicated loyalists, especially in working-class sectors, is in a strong position because “the second round will suffer from ideological content.”

Also in Sunday’s ballot are two environmental referendums that could ban mining in a jungle near Quito and development of an oil block in the Amazon.

An attempt to block the development of an oil block in the Yasuni reservation in the Amazon had 59% support, with 37% of the polls counted, while a ban on mining in the Chocó Andino forest near Quito also had a 67% victory. .

Correa’s Citizens’ Revolution Party led in the number of seats in the National Assembly, with nearly 40% of the support, while Villavicencio’s Constroi party had 22%, with around 57% of the polls counted.

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