Elections in Ecuador: Is Correism Back?

Early elections in Ecuador may revive Correism, the movement that controls the central municipalities and the last legislative branch, which is headed for early presidential elections.

Rafael Correa

Photo: Ministry of Culture of the Nation

LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

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Leer en español: Elecciones en Ecuador: ¿Vuelve el correísmo?

After President Guillermo Lasso dissolved the Assembly, he also had to bring forward the national elections. Thus, Ecuadorians are called to elect the president, vice-president, and members of Congress on August 20. The fundamental question is whether the ruling party will maintain or increase its power or if, on the contrary, it is time for the return of Correism.

Precisely, for Rafael Correa and his allies, this early election is an ideal scenario to aspire to power. His political party Movimiento Revolución Ciudadana came in second place just two years ago, when Guillermo Lasso won in the second round. Andres Arauz achieved a vast difference in the first round, with 32.72% of the votes, against Lasso’s 19.74%. However, for the new vote, Arauz was left with 47.64% against 52.36% of the winner’s votes.

Likewise, they were the leading political force in the legislature, with 47 of the 137 seats. This was precisely one of the problems that Lasso had in governing, generating this rupture between the executive and the Assembly.

Correa’s Candidates

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On the part of the Correism party, the candidacy is obvious. The duo of Luisa Gonzalez and Andres Arauz will be the representatives of the MRC.

Correism has a powerful force in Congress, the presidential elections, and local elections. At the beginning of the year, Pabel Muñoz and Aquiles álvarez won the mayoralties of the two principal cities of Ecuador: Quito and Guayaquil, respectively.

Everything helps Correa’s movement achieve a relevant victory. The former president’s movement did not disappear despite the years in the opposition and the accusations against Rafael Correa himself for corruption (an 8-year prison sentence that the former president considers political persecution). They hope to win the presidency and more than 50 seats in the Assembly to govern with peace of mind. The fight against insecurity, the economic crisis, and inequality will be among their main campaign points.

Guillermo Lasso has Little Time to Avoid Leaving the Way Open to Correism

The president had to call for early elections mainly because of his low political capital. In the congress, his government was in the minority, which made him unable to lead and manage the country as he would have wanted. In addition, his poor results in his barely two years (either due to fierce opposition, his lack of leadership, or a mixture of both) generated rejection by the population. Now Lasso governs by decree and without electoral pressures (he announced that he would not compete in the early elections).

Lasso became president more because of the anti-Correa vote than in favor of the former banker. The current president almost did not compete in the second round, and from there, he had to collect all the votes in rejection of Arauz. So, with such scarce political capital and few political results today, they leave the door open for the opposition.

For this reason, the ruling party will have little time to convince Ecuadorians to choose a similar candidate. In the electoral panorama, Otto Sonnenholzner is the ruling party’s option. Still, he knows that he may be burdened with the low popularity of the current president, with a 13.93% approval rating.

Additionally, another strong anti-correism figure is Yaku Perez himself. The indigenous environmentalist leader who came third in the last elections and who narrowly beat Lasso and would compete for the second round. Perez even denounced fraud in the first count that favored Arauz and Lasso.

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