Ecuador Elections: Citizens’ Revolution vs Neoliberalism

Yurién Portelles

In the context of next year’s elections, political intentions are becoming clearer in Ecuador, with information as to the presidential aspirations of opposition groups, all of which are attempting to define a single platform with which to confront President Rafael Correa in 2013.

Although Correa has not as yet announced that he will run for reelection, he is perceived as a strong candidate to defeat, considering his high degree of popular support, in excess of 80%, according to official reports.

The first round of voting for Ecuador’s president, vice president and 136 members of the National Assembly is scheduled for February 17, 2013, and the new authorities who will lead the country for a five-year period, take possession on May 24.

Names given the most attention in the media include Lourdes Tibán, parliamentarian for Cotopaxi province, from the Pachakutik Movement; Gustavo Larrea of the Movimiento Participación (Participation Movement); and Paúl Carrasco of the Izquierda Democrática (Democratic Left).

Others are Jorge Escala and Mery Zamora, from the Movimiento Popular Democrático (Democratic Popular Movement); Diana Atamaint and Auki Tituaña (Pachakutik); and Alberto Acosta, former president of the Constituent Assembly.

Guillermo Lassa, president of the Bank of Guayaquil, has resigned from his position, probably to run for the presidency, although he has repeatedly denied this.

According to WikiLeaks, Lasso has sought support to counteract Correa’s policies, in complicity with ex-president Lucio Gutiérrez and millionaire businessman Alvaro Noboa.

Noboa began his electoral campaign early by proclaiming himself presidential candidate for the Partido Renovador Institucional de Acción Nacional, and called on the opposition to join him in order to “do away with the Citizens’ Revolution” (Correa’s social program), while Gutiérrez stated that there would definitely be a second round in the elections.

CORREA, A SOLID CANDIDATE

The figure of economist Rafael Correa, leader of the Movimiento Alianza PAIS, is the most solid one for the presidency on the Ecuadorian political scene.

In addition to having led the nation over the last five years, an unprecedented feat in the country, given its total of seven presidents in the previous decade, observers agree that Correa exhibits an incorruptible image which has impressed voters.

Political analyst Santiago Basabe stated on national television that his virtue as a good administrator and transparency in the use of the country’s resources, places the current President in an advantageous position over his opponents in the upcoming elections.

In addition to being young and charismatic with a solid academic background and demonstrated leadership at the national and international level, in particular in the context of Latin America, Correa has worked positively and achieved results.

There has been a sustained reduction of poverty over the last five years, during which one million-plus people emerged from absolute poverty, contract labor has been eliminated, and unemployment has fallen from 7.38% to 4.88% (last March).

Beyond pending challenges, such as his agrarian reform program, Correa has backing due to public policies adopted during his presidential terms in favor of traditionally marginalized sectors, such as indigenous groups, women, children and people with disabilities, in spite of constant media campaigns against him.

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