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Ecuador - Election 2017

Ecuador made history by choosing a prominent disability rights activist as the world’s first head of state elected with open paraplegia. Progressive candidate and renowned disability activist from the ruling Alianza Pais party, Lenin Moreno, won the Ecuadorean presidential election 02 April 2017. With 99 percent of the official vote counted, Lenin defeated former banker Guillermo Lasso, candidate for the right-wing CREO-SUMO alliance, with 51.16 percent to 48.84 percent, according to results issued by the country’s National Electoral Council. In what many had already predicted, right-wing vice presidential candidate Andres Paez has called for a recount, even though the CNE said it was a transparent and successful election process, calling for everyone to respect the results.

Ecuador kicked off its election campaign 03 January 2017 ahead of the Febrary 19th vote that would determine whether President Rafael Correa’s progressive policies and so-called “Citizen’s Revolution” would continue in the South American country for another four years. After the 45-day campaign, Ecuadoreans would cast their ballots for president and members of the National Assembly and also vote on a referendum on whether to block elected officials and public servants from stashing wealth in offshore tax havens.

The election came as President Correa and his Alianza Pais party wrap up 10 years in government championing social and economic policies that have lifted 1.5 million people out of poverty since 2007, tripled tax collection through more efficient processes, expanded universal health care and education, and made advances in controlling unemployment. As the campaign officially gets underway, Alianza Pais’ Lenin Moreno — Correa’s vice president from 2007 to 2013 and former U.N. Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility — holds the favored spot in the polls with 28.6 percent of the popular vote, according to a recent Market survey. Lenin Moreno, in a wheelchair since being shot in 1998, has been a leading champion for rights of people with disabilities in Ecuador.

Trailing behind the frontrunner, the Social Christian Party’s Cynthia Viteri polled at 19.3 percent, CREO’s Guillermo Lasso at 17.7 percent and the National Agreement for Change coalition’s Paco Moncayo at 14.8 percent. But despite Moreno’s clear lead, the presidential election is likely to go to a second round vote, which would be held on April 2 and could open the door for the conservative opposition to unite against the left-wing Alianza Pais.

Meanwhile, more than 3,500 candidates are vying for 137 seats in Ecuador’s National Assembly and five more seats in the Andean Parliament, the legislative assembly of the Andean Community made up of Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru.

Nearly 13 million Ecuadoreans were expected to go to the polls to vote in the key election for a new president and National Assembly, as well as a referendum on tax havens, in an ballot that would decide whether the country would stay on its left-wing path for another term or follow other South American countries in making a turn to the right after years of progressive governments. Voting in Ecuador is mandatory between the ages of 18 and 65, though there are some exemptions. Ecuadoreans can begin voting at age 16 and the country allows permanent residents who have lived in the country for two years to vote alongside citizens.

The referendum question asked voters, "Do you agree that, for those holding a popularly elected office or for public servants, there should be a prohibition on holding assets or capital, of any nature, in tax havens?"

Guillermo Lasso, candidate of the right-wing neoliberal Alianza Creo-SUMA an entrepreneur and banker, played a major role in the country's banking crisis in 1999 as economic minister under the government of Jamil Mahuad. Lasso ran against Correa in 2013, obtaining 23 percent of the vote. Lasso has been the main opponent of the social and economic achievements of Correa and Alianza Pais, which have benefited the poor in the country. A recent book revealed Lasso as the mastermind of right-wing attacks to discredit Correo and his government's progressive agenda.

Presidential candidate Lenin Moreno, of President Rafael Correa's Alianza Pais party, led the polls with a wide margin over his closest rival throughout the campaign, but ahead of the election it remained uncertain whether or not the race would go to a second round. If none of the eight presidential candidates has won at least 40 percent of the popular vote with a 10 percent margin over the second place candidate, there would be a second round of voting on April 2 between the top two contenders. A new president and national assembly would be sworn in on 24 May 2017.

The designated successor of Correa, Moreno led in the latest polls. He was vice president from 2007 to 2013 and has been in a wheelchair since being shot in 1998. He has since served as special envoy on disability and accessibility at the United Nations. Hugely popular in Ecuador, Moreno was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012 by lawmakers in Ecuador's National Assembly for his "Ecuador Sin Barreras" project, which has transformed governmental policy on people with disabilities and helped thousands through job placement guarantees and subsidies for caregivers.

This election would determine the fate of Correa’s 10-year-old Citizens' Revolution — now represented by his former vice president, Lenin Moreno — which cut poverty in half under a system of 21st Century Socialism which created what the Overseas Development Institute judged as the world’s most inclusive period of economic growth.

APAlianza Pais 74
Creating Opportunities
Society United for More Action
PSCSocial Christian Party 15
CREOCreating Opportunities Movement 4
Pachakutik 4
Local Movement 3
IDDemocratic Left 3
SUMASociety United for More Action 2
PSPParty of the Patriotic Society 2
IDPachakutik - Democratic Left 1
FEFuerza Ecuador 1

Lenin Moreno, a former deputy to leftist President Rafael Correa led the first round vote to become the Andean country's leader 09 February 2017. Moreno beat pro-business banker Lasso by more than 10 points in the eight-way first round vote. But he did not gain the 50 percent he needed for a first round win against conservative opponent Guillermo Lasso. The count following the February poll was criticized for being slow. The electoral authorities attributed the delay to the slow arrival of ballots from remote regions and consulates abroad, as well as to inconsistencies.

On Sunday, 02 April 2017, 12.8 million Ecuadorians were called to elect a president and vice president, between the two finalists of the first round of elections on February 19. For the election weekend, the dry law is in effect, campaigning prohibited and early voting took place in prisons and assisted balloting for the handicapped. The election campaign closed without a clear favorite and the assumptions of analysts are that the vote would be close. Opinion polls were prohibited from 10 days before the voting day. In the last opinion poll held ten days before the run-off vote on Sunday, Moreno had risen to a 52 percent share over 48 percent for Lasso.

Guillermo Lasso, the candidate for the party Alianza Creo-SUMA, had been a tough critic of the social and economic achievements of President Rafael Correa. Lasso accused the Correa government of being corrupt and inefficient. The entrepreneur and banker was an economic advisor and ambassador during the government of Lucio Gutiérrez (2003-2005) and had a major economic post in the government of Jamil Mahuad that was responsible for the disastrous “Bank Holiday” fiasco that hurt millions.

Lasso proposed to create 1 million jobs, set interest on credit at 1 percent, eliminate entrance exams for university, cut taxes, "modernize the laws" to allow campesinos to once again carry weapons. Lasso is a right-wing entrepreneur, politician, banker, who defends the free market economy and the increased role of the private sector.

Lasso also promised to remove Wikileaks founder Julian Assange from the Ecuadorean embassy in London where he has been since 2012 after asking for asylum, fearing extradition via Sweden to the US.

Lenin Moreno proposed to generate 200,000 new jobs, give preferential credit ratings to young entrepreneurs and businesspeople, guarantee access to higher education by creating orientation centers, improve the living conditions of senior citizens through a program called "My Best Years," establish dialogue with different political groups. The former vice president was the candidate for the governing PAIS Alliance and the favorite in the polls to win the presidential race.

A Lenin Moreno government would represent a continuity of some aspects the Ecuador’s Citizens Revolution, while also representing some significant shifts. The proposal from Moreno and his PAIS Alliance, which also stemmed from the 10 Revolutions outlined by the governing party as the basis for a 2017-2021 government plan, continue the redistributive mantra of the Ecuadorean government since Rafael Correa took office in 2006.

Under the Correa government, there were some notable rifts with movements and social sectors that at one point were in support of the government. Moreno would have a more inclusive approach to these groups, as well as towards dialogue around issues that had yet to be addressed by the Citizen’s Revolution.

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Page last modified: 03-04-2017 18:44:50 ZULU