Daniel Noboa, scion of a business empire and former legislator, took the oath of office as Ecuador's new president, vowing to combat violence and unemployment through urgently needed legislative changes.
11/23/2023.- The president of Ecuador, Daniel Noboa, greets from the Government Palace today, in Quito (Ecuador). EFE/ Julio Estrella
The Latin American Post Staff
Escucha este artículo
Ecuador Welcomes New President Daniel Noboa
Ecuador welcomed its new president, Daniel Noboa, marking the beginning of a pivotal chapter in the country's political landscape. The 35-year-old heir to a prominent business dynasty and former legislator emerged victorious in an October runoff election. As he assumes leadership, Noboa faces the daunting task of addressing Ecuador's deep-seated economic woes and the pressing issue of escalating violence, which reached a tragic crescendo with the murder of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio.
President Noboa outlined his vision for the nation in his inaugural address before the National Assembly lawmakers in Quito. "To combat violence, we must tackle unemployment head-on. Our country is in dire need of jobs, and to create them, I will swiftly propose critical reforms to the assembly. These reforms should be handled with utmost responsibility, always prioritizing the well-being of our nation," he declared.
A Unique Presidency Timeline
Noboa's presidency has a unique timeline; he will serve for just 17 months, completing the term of his predecessor, Guillermo Lasso, who expedited elections to evade potential impeachment. Despite this condensed tenure, Noboa can seek re-election in 2025.
President Noboa acknowledged the need for a departure from past policies, saying, "We cannot continue to repeat the same policies of the past and expect different results. I invite all citizens to unite against our common adversaries: violence and poverty. The road ahead is arduous and challenging, and our time is limited."
President Noboa is expected to declare a state of emergency to address Ecuador's multifaceted challenges, granting him the authority to propose legislation to the assembly with expedited 30-day approval timelines. This approach aims to expedite critical reforms.
Focus on Job Creation and Electricity Sector Reform
One of the critical areas of reform is job creation, which may encompass incentives for hiring, mainly targeting young people and potential reductions in the value-added tax on construction materials. Additionally, a second reform initiative is poised to revamp the electricity sector, addressing the power shortages due to drought caused by the El Niño weather phenomenon.
As he forges ahead, President Noboa still needs to appoint a Minister of Economy and Finance, leaving the position vacant. While initially considering Sariha Moya for the role, he ultimately tasked her with overseeing Ecuador's planning secretariat.
Navigating Ecuador's complex economic landscape, President Noboa has undertaken international visits to engage with investors and lenders. He has asserted his commitment to balancing foreign debt obligations, which amount to approximately $47.4 billion, with the pressing needs of the Ecuadorian populace.
President Noboa has pledged to establish a new intelligence unit, equip security forces with tactical weapons, and confine the most dangerous criminals on prison boats in his quest to enhance security. Ecuador has been grappling with a surge in violent deaths, with estimates projecting over 7,000 fatalities this year, resulting in a homicide rate of 35 per 100,000 people, as per a report from the Ecuadorean Organized Crime Observatory.
Legislative Coalition for Reforms
In a move signaling his determination to drive reforms forward, President Noboa entered into a legislative coalition with the conservative Social Christian Party and the Citizens' Revolution, founded by leftist ex-President Rafael Correa. This alliance is poised to facilitate the passage of critical reforms through the assembly.
Ecuador's economic outlook remains challenging, with projected growth of 1.5% in 2023 and 0.8% in 2024. According to official data, informal labor constitutes over 50% of the nation's economy.
Also read: Ecuador's Leftist Political Realignment
Daniel Noboa, the son of a powerful billionaire banana magnate who made multiple unsuccessful presidential bids, is a father of two children—his daughter from a previous marriage and a son with his current wife. Additionally, Ecuador's first lady, Lavinia Valbonesi, is a 25-year-old social media influencer and nutritionist, expecting their second son, further adding a youthful touch to the country's leadership.
As President Daniel Noboa embarks on his tenure, Ecuadorians and the international community watch closely, hopeful for meaningful reforms and progress on the horizon in the face of formidable challenges.