Quito, Oct 14 (EFE).- More than 13.4 million Ecuadorians are summoned this Sunday to the polls to choose between the young businessman Daniel Noboa and the lawyer Luisa Gonzalez, who will complete the term of office of President Guillermo Lasso until May 2025.
This Sunday’s voting day will begin at 07:00 local time (12:00 GMT) and last ten hours until 17:00 (22:00 GMT). The first results are expected to be known about 90 minutes after the polls close.
The process began last Thursday with the prisoners’ vote without a final sentence. It continued on Friday with the vote at home for those over 50 years old or people with a disability of more than 75%.
Ecuadorians go to the polls after last May Lasso dissolved the National Assembly, of opposition majority, when he was about to vote a motion of censure against him for alleged embezzlement (embezzlement), which he denies, and requested the call for elections, under the constitutional remedy known as “cross death.”
Noboa and Gonzalez went to the ballot last August 20 after beating six other candidates: former vice-president Otto Sonnenholzner and former legislator, businessman, and security specialist Jan Topic.
Also, the former prefect of the province of Azuay Yaku Pérez, the businessman Xavier Hervas, the independent lawyer Bolívar Armijos, and the journalist Christian Zurita, who replaced Fernando Villavicencio on the ballot, killed on August 9 as he was leaving a political rally in Quito.
Insecurity Wearing bulletproof vests and with the protection of law enforcement, Noboa of the National Democratic Action (ADN) alliance and Gonzalez of the Citizen Revolution movement, led by former president Rafael Correa (2007-2017), developed a second round campaign characterized by meetings with unions, social groups and delegates from international organizations.
There were few mass meetings compared to electoral campaigns of past years in Ecuador.
In their proselytism, both candidates focused on informing, especially about their government plans to fight insecurity, one of the main concerns of Ecuadorians.
Ecuador is experiencing unprecedented levels of insecurity and violence, attributed by authorities to organized crime and drug trafficking, which caused the country to go from 5.8 to 25.32 intentional homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in just five years in 2022, the highest figure in its history.
Murders at the hands of hired killers, assaults, extortion, kidnappings, robberies, and assaults are among the crimes heard of daily in Ecuador.
The country was known as a stronghold of peace in the region. However, it has become a key point for drug trafficking mafias to smuggle large quantities of cocaine produced in neighboring Colombia and Peru, the world’s two largest producers, to Europe and North America through its ports.
Economic Situation In addition to the insecurity crisis, the next president will face a difficult economic situation with an indebted country, with severe problems in the health, education, and agricultural sectors, among others, which could be worsened by the effects of the El Niño climate phenomenon, which is expected to worsen in the coming months.
In addition, the next head of state will have to govern with the foreseeable reduction of fiscal revenues due to the prohibition of exploiting an essential oil well in the Amazon.
This is because last August 20, Ecuadorians voted in a referendum to cease the exploitation of Block 43-ITT, one of the oilfields located within the Yasuní National Park, a biodiverse enclave in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
This block has an average production of 58,000 barrels of oil daily, about 11% of Ecuador’s total oil production of around 480,000 barrels.
According to official data, this gave the State profits of 1.2 billion dollars. Still, environmentalists believe that the income is much lower and can be compensated with a wealth tax. EFE