Ecuador: “Elections Under Lock And Key” Go To Second Round

Elections in Ecuador will be decided in the second round. The first round ended on August 20 in a surreal and armored setting, given recent dramatic episodes, the most serious of which was the assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio. Many spoke of “armored elections”: candidates appeared on their final rallies in bulletproof vests, and thousands of police officers were mobilized to the polls.

The largest number of votes in the first round went to Louisa Gonzalez from the Movimiento Revolucion Ciudadana party (a left-wing formation associated with former President Rafael Correa) who received 33% of the vote. Following her was Daniel Noboa Azin, a centrist businessman who gained 24% of the vote and became a real surprise of this election. Daniel is the heir of Alvaro Noboa, a banana market tycoon. The third place in the first round with 16% of the vote went to Cristian Zurita, a journalist who replaced the candidate Fernando Villavicencio assassinated on August 10 after a rally in Quito.

The second round will take place on October 15, and for Ecuador it will be an unprecedented result in any case: Luisa Gonzalez will become the first woman president, and Noboa will be the youngest ever in the history of the country.

It goes without saying that the next president (who will only be in power until 2025, that is, until the end of the current legislative convocation) will end up in an extremely delicate situation. The preparations for these elections were marked by a trail of blood, and the country is sadly climbing the ladder in terms of violent deaths. In recent years, Ecuador has become a real hub for South American drugs that come from Peru and Colombia and are further shipped to Europe and North America. The country is infested by various criminal gangs associated with the notorious Mexican cartels Jalisco and Sinaloa.

Simultaneously with the presidential elections, a vote was also held for the Amazon referendum, particularly about the possibility of oil extraction in the area of special natural value, protected by a park and inhabited by various indigenous tribes. People spoke out in favor of stopping the drilling, despite the warning by Ecuadorian financial institutions that abandoning oil from the Yasuni Park would cost the state about 15 billion dollars of income over the next 20 years. Oil production is one of the foundations of the country’s economy, and 11% of the national production of crude oil is extracted from these wells.