Ecuadorians are called again this Sunday to the polls for the second round of the presidential election, where the candidate of the Citizen Revolution Movement, Luisa González, an ally of former president Rafael Correa, seeks to assert her status as the favorite against businessman Daniel Noboa, who reached this last round of elections against the odds.
González achieved more than 33% of the votes in the first round on August 20, which shows the extent to which ‘Correism’ continues to be a popular current in Ecuador, where Correa himself, who now lives in Belgium, and there are many pending legal cases in the country of South America.
‘Correismo’ emphasizes that the trials opened for corruption against former leaders are part of political persecution and establish themselves as a guarantee of social development. In the last televised debate, González stated that he wants to fight insecurity by improving aspects such as job creation.
The increase in violence, due to clashes between gangs and also extended to prisons—the current Government ordered a state of emergency in the prison system in July—has become a major issue in the campaign, especially after In the days before the first round, presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio was killed.
Noboa, who won 23% of the votes in the first round, promised in the debate to strengthen border control and work with countries in the region to create alliances. The first six arrested for the murder of Villavicencio, killed in prison last week, have Colombian nationality, which will show the interrelation between groups from different countries.
In fact, two out of every three Ecuadorians do not feel safe walking alone at night, according to a safety survey conducted by the Gallup company in 2022, a year that closes with an increase in the rate of murder: it increased to more than 25 per 100,000 inhabitants, from 13.7 registered in 2021, and for 2023 no statistical improvement is expected.
For this Sunday’s election, the government and the National Electoral Council (CNE) have created a new security plan that plans to deploy about 53,700 police officers throughout the country. Authorities also expect strict access control at polling stations, which is why they recommend voters avoid carrying bags or backpacks to avoid delays.
In-person voting abroad
Polling stations will open at 7:00 a.m. (local time) and will not close until 5:00 p.m. For voting abroad, the hours are adapted to the country in question, and, for example, in Spain, the polls open at 9:00 a.m. and close at 7:00 p.m. (peninsular time).
For the first round, an unprecedented telematic voting system was tested abroad, but a series of technical problems led the Ecuadorian authorities to withdraw and revise the vote in person. On the first day, out of 409,000 potential voters, only 44,000 were registered in the system, and of them, only 12,000 exercised their right to vote.
In Spain, more than 179,000 Ecuadorians can participate in a total of 19 electoral precincts, although voting abroad is not mandatory. The most crowded is that of Madrid, because about 66,800 Ecuadorians are called to the center set up by IFEMA, first of the Fira de Barcelona.
Technical glitches also forced parliamentary elections to be repeated for expatriates, who have the right to elect their own representatives to the National Assembly. Revolución Ciudadana is currently the party with the most seats, 48, although what will happen this Sunday will not reach the absolute threshold of majority (69) itself.
The members of the assembly and the people who hold the Presidency and Vice Presidency of Ecuador in any case have a shorter term than usual because it is not about the beginning of a new period like this but covers the two years remaining from the previous one.
It was built on the constitutional rule that the outgoing president, Guillermo Lasso, resorted to in mid-May, who appealed to the so-called ‘crossed death’ to dissolve the National Assembly and thus avoid the start of a political test. This initiative means forcing a double increase in elections if there is a “serious political crisis.”
Lasso, who initially floated a possible candidacy for the re-election he ended up ruling, remained largely on the sidelines of the campaign, focused on his official agenda as president and assuming new achievements in the commercial or diplomatic sphere. In terms of security, it has intensified the operations of the main prisons.