Luisa Gonzalez & Daniel Noboa Head to a Runoff in Ecuador

Luisa González, accompanied by her vice-presidential running mate Andres Arauz. Photo: EFE | Confidential

The candidate from Rafael Correa’s movement and a young businessman will contest the presidency of Ecuador on October 15.

By EFE (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – The Citizen Revolution Movement candidate Luisa González and the young businessman Daniel Noboa will compete for the Presidency of Ecuador in a runoff on October 15, after obtaining the most votes in Sunday’s first round of voting.

With 98.23% of the votes counted, Gonzalez held 33.31% of the votes and Noboa 23.66%, followed by the assassinated Fernando Villavicencio, who was replaced by Christian Zurita, with 16.51%.

Although the polls had predicted that Gonzalez would be the most voted in the first round, thanks to the solid support that Rafael Correa’s political movement usually receives, Noboa’s second place finish was a surprise, driven by the youth vote and by presenting an “outsider” image.

First woman in a runoff

Gonzalez, a 45-year-old lawyer and former legislator, held several positions within the Correa administration (2007-2017). On election night she told her supporters that she will be the first woman to contest a runoff for the presidency of Ecuador.

“I call for the unity of all Ecuadorians,” said Gonzalez, who followed the results accompanied in Quito by the former vice president of the Government of Spain and former general secretary of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias.

Gonzalez said the recent assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio harmed her candidacy and prevented her from achieving an outright victory in first round. Villavicencio was a staunch enemy of Rafael Correa due to his reporting on corruption against Correa throughout his journalistic career.

In order to have won in the first round, she needed to have gathered 50% of the votes or, on the contrary, at least 40% and no less than ten percentage points ahead of any contender.

The surprise of the night

Noboa, 35, and son of tycoon Alvaro Noboa, a five-time presidential candidate, became the surprise of the night by running second and forcing a runoff against Gonzalez, as his father did in 2007 against Correa.

Alvaro Noboa Photo: Ecuador Times

The candidate of the ADN political alliance began to gain momentum after his participation in the last presidential debate, to the point that he overtook other more well-known media faces in the presidential race such as former vice president Otto Sonnenholzner, the environmentalist politician Yaku Perez and the security specialist businessman Jan Topic.

“It will not be the first time that a new project turns the political ‘establishment’ around. That freshness in doing politics is what has brought us here,” said Noboa at the press conference, held in Guayaquil where his campaign staff did not allow access to the media or international agencies.

Opposing backgrounds

Although in an interview carried out in July with EFE Luisa Gonzalez defined herself as center-left, Noboa comes from the business circle of Guayaquil, one of the great economic motors of Ecuador. Gonzalez has her roots in the rural area of the coastal province of Manabi, an origin of which she is always proud.

Whoever wins these elections will succeed the current president, conservative Guillermo Lasso, to complete his 2021-2025 term, interrupted by the head of state last May by invoking the constitutional mechanism for a special election after he dissolved the National Assembly.

In third place in the vote, distanced from Noboa was the assassinated candidate Fernando Villavicencio, riddled with bullets by alleged Colombian hitmen on August 9 as he left a political rally in Quito.

Villavicencio’s votes went to Christian Zurita, to whom the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) granted precautionary measures this Sunday after denouncing that he received death threats similar to those received by his colleague days before his murder.

Correa’s movement strong in the Assembly

Meanwhile, in the elections to the National Assembly, Citizen Revolution movement was headed for around 51 seats followed by the Construye movement, of Zurita and Villavicencio, which had 28, and ADN,12, with 91.91% of the votes tallied. The Assembly is comprised by 137 legislators making 69 a simple majority.

The Electoral Council reported that 82.26% of the more than 13.4 million Ecuadorians qualified to vote went to the polls, in a voting day that took place without major incidents, except for problems in the computer platform for telematic voting by Ecuadorians registered abroad who, according to the National Electoral Council (CNE) were the target of cyberattacks from countries such as India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Russia, Ukraine, Indonesia and China.

The elections took place amid a state of emergency decreed by the Government after the murder of Villavicencio. The polling stations were strongly guarded by the Police and the Armed Forces to prevent new violent acts, within a spiral of violence in the country attributed by the authorities to organized crime and to drug trafficking.

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