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Elections in Ecuador: Arauz and Lasso face off for the presidency

Andrés Arauz and Guillermo Lasso will compete in the second presidential round on Sunday, April 11. Here are their different visions of the country.

Andrés Arauz and Guillermo Lasso

The election of this April 11 will define who will replace Lenín Moreno as president of Ecuador and the winner will take office on May 24, 2021. Photos: TW-ecuarauz, TW-LassoGuillermo

LatinAmerican Post | Nelson Andrés Tamayo Gaviria

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Leer en español: Elecciones en Ecuador: Arauz y Lasso se enfrentan por la presidencia

The election of this April 11 will define who will replace Lenín Moreno as president of Ecuador, the winner will take office on May 24, 2021. Arauz, a 36-year-old economist, is the candidate of former president Rafael Correa, while Lasso, a 65-year-old banker represents the traditional right of the South American nation.

The Ecuadorian presidential race has not been without its difficulties, 16 candidates competed in the race in the first round of February 7. Andrés Arauz quickly went to the second round with more than 3 million votes. However, at the end of the day, there was no clear result between Guillermo Lasso and the leftist indigenous candidate, Yaku Pérez, who belongs to the Pachakutik Movement.

Also read: 4 facts to understand the electoral process in Ecuador

The first counts gave the second-round pass to Pérez with 20% of the votes and a narrow difference with Lasso, shortly after, Lasso obtained the advantage and surpassed him in the preliminary scrutiny. On March 20, the National Electoral Council confirmed the final results: Arauz, 32.7%; Lasso, 19.7% and Pérez, 19.3%. Pérez was thus out of the election, the short margin and the change in the numbers were not enough for the indigenous leader, who denounced fraud, imputed the election, and requested a recount of votes without success. "If they opened the 20 thousand records that have inconsistencies, we would go to the second round, there is the fraud," said the lawyer holding the right responsible. In the end, Pérez asked his supporters to vote null in the second round and separated himself from the other candidates.

Government plans

The ideas of both candidates are quite different and during the campaign personal attacks have had more prominence than the proposals. For Arauz “Lasso is the candidate of the banks” and for Lasso, “Arauz is a young man with old ideas”. When reading their government plans, it is evident that the economy is a priority and that the Covid-19 crisis is key on the agenda.

Andrés Arauz, supported by the Union for Hope coalition and the Democratic Center party, says he wants to "put more dollars in the pockets of Ecuadorians" by putting the local market first and restructuring the debt, he proposes three measures for economic reactivation: production, work and liquidity. In addition, he speaks of an inclusive vaccination and of rehiring “6,000 (health) professionals who were fired in the pandemic,” he also stated that he will guarantee the availability of medicines throughout the country.

Zevallos fue recomendado por el binomio de Lasso. Tengamos claro que #LassoEsMoreno. Hoy asistimos al desastre del gobierno de los banqueros, al abandono que sufre el pueblo en plena crisis. Las y los ecuatorianos merecen un Estado que priorice a la gente por sobre los intereses. pic.twitter.com/fD7415Gyzg

— Andrés Arauz (@ecuarauz) April 2, 2021

For his part, Guillermo Lasso, supported by the Alliance of the CREO party and the Christian Social Party, criticizes Arauz's proposal of wanting to quarantine dollars. The 65-year-old politician has a more internationalist vision of the economy, proposes to strengthen dollarization through foreign investment, and states that "we will seek the signing of free trade agreements." He affirms that he will eliminate excess taxes and reactivate the rural economy to guarantee sustainability in prices. As for the pandemic, he talks about negotiating vaccines and not waiting for donations, "we are going to vaccinate at least 9 million Ecuadorians in the first 100 days," he also claims to want to fight corruption in health.

Hemos demostrado que trabajando juntos se puede lograr un verdadero cambio. Cada día más ecuatorianos se suman a nuestro proyecto. Ese es el encuentro que buscamos.

Dejemos el odio y las mentiras atrás. Caminemos hacia un Ecuador unido y de paz. #JuntosLoEstamosLogrando pic.twitter.com/Wv7YhKfkM0

— Guillermo Lasso (@LassoGuillermo) April 5, 2021

The Moreno and Correa effect

In 2017, Lenín Moreno came to the presidency at the hands of Rafel Correa, shortly after he left his former political leader and sought support from right-wing sectors, since then Moreno has had an unpopular government, that both candidates have distanced themselves from. Lasso accuses Arauz of being the reincarnation of Moreno for being a correista, while Arauz says that Lasso's proposals are similar to those of the current president.

It seems that this election revolves around the legacy of former President Correa, Arauz proposes in some way to recover that legacy that, according to him, disappeared during the Moreno government and Lasso proposes a change to the left-wing model that was in power in the country during 10 years. Until a few weeks ago the results of polling firms gave Arauz the win, but the latest polls have shortened the distance between the candidates and now they are in a technical tie, it is not known with certainty who will be the next president of the Andean country.

The balance in Latin America

After April 11, it will be known whether the balance in the region leans to the left or to the right. The finalists of the election in Ecuador have been clear with their foreign policy, Andrés Arauz was in Bolivia in the possession of President Luis Arce and participated in welcoming Evo Morales, if he wins, Arauz would have important support in that country; Alberto Fernández, president of Argentina and Andrés Manuel López Obrador, of Mexico, would also be allies. In this way, the left would be strengthened.

Guillermo Lasso, on the other hand, could count on right-wing presidents like Iván Duque, from Colombia, Sebastián Piñera, from Chile, and even Jair Bolsonaro, from Brazil as allies. Lasso has already stated that if he wins, he will apply to the Pacific Alliance (an integration organization between Chile, Mexico, Colombia and Peru), and will support the self-proclaimed interim president of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó and the Lima Group. Thus the Latin American right would have new support and the newly created Prosur would continue to grow.