Ecuador is the first Latin American country to go to the polls this year, on February 7. These are general elections, where a presidential pair, 137 assembly members and five Andean parliamentarians will be elected – for the next four years.
If no candidate achieves an absolute majority or 40% with a distance of 10 points, a second round will take place. The elections are marked by an exhausted government, a new epidemic, an embryonic vaccination process, an economic crisis and political fragmentation.
During the election campaign, a new way of proselytizing was ushered in and something similar is sure to happen in the upcoming elections in Peru and Chile. The closest precedent was already Bolivia. In Ecuador, visits, caravans and gatherings were limited due to biosafety measures determined by the government.
Advertising strategies have exacerbated the use of social media, where platforms like TikTok have turned contestants into comedians for a movie, who may not have intended to act digitally.
There are two aspects that make this election special. The first is the importance of the youth vote, as it accounts for about 44% of electoral results. People from the age of 16 have the right to vote on an optional basis.
And the second is the number of applicants for all positions. It is incredible that 16 candidates are running for the presidency and that 283 political organizations, including national, local, cantonal and parish parties and movements, are also qualified for the electoral competition. There are five or six times more candidates than dignitaries.
The number of candidates for the first state magistracy introduced a scenario of fragmentation and dispersion.
It is very possible that the candidates with greater possibilities do not increase the vote in their favor, because it could be distributed without any logic among so many competitors, in addition to the fact that there are several candidates with the same tendency. , despite having been a constant in the symbolic construction in the speeches of the participants is presented as apolitical. It appears that the use of ideology is functional for different segments of the electorate.
Research has been a major player, despite the inability to collect information personally. Never before have so many results circulated through networks.
The majority coincided in three candidates with more possibilities (Andrés Arauz, Guillermo Lasso and Yaku Pérez), but neither in the position of the first two nor in their difference of voice. However, after a week, there are still 40% who have not yet decided on their preference. This data is essential due to absenteeism, fragmentation and covert voting.
Dichotomy in the election
In this race, two major political orientations are in conflict with their economic projects: that resulting from the Citizen Revolution and close to the governments of socialism in the twenty-first century, under the impetus of ex-president Rafael Correa (2007-2017) with its candidate, Andrés Arauz, and the other, which is the opposite, but with different nuances in two options.
On the one hand, the more liberal version led by the banker candidate Guillermo Lasso and, on the other hand, indigenism which defends the rights of nature against the extraction of Yaku Pérez by Pachakutik.
The election is caught in the match / anti-match dichotomy, however, the latter runs from far left, through center-right, and left to right.
In other words, this is not an ideological confrontation, but a confrontation against the leadership of ex-President Correa and what that meant for politics: the constitution of a hyper-presidential model enshrined in the Constitution. of 2008, the configuration of a party system, a delegative democracy which makes the president govern without responsibility because the people trust him.
As for the economy, the elections open the discussion on three models by the candidates. On the one hand, there is the centralized economy with the total protagonism of the state proposed by the Citizen Revolution.
Second, there is Guillermo Lasso’s proposal for a free market economy with glimpses of social assistance without making him a social democrat and the option that presents itself as radical to the non-use of natural resources (mining and oil), because it focuses on the green economy.
Inevitable agenda for candidates
The consequences of the pandemic conditioned the candidates’ offers on two factors: the execution of a mass vaccination plan and the creation of jobs. The first answers because Ecuador is in the first place in the death rates in the world and the second because in the last year about 600,000 jobs have been lost according to the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC). The other proposals occupy a residual place, even if in the third place we have to face insecurity and violence.
A theme that he played alone in the campaign and that was treated differently by the candidates, that is to say increasingly low intensity, is the fight against corruption and impunity, especially for trials who record firm sentences against a large number of former audiences. officials involved in the Odebrecht affairs, who have gone through the political reality of several Latin American countries. The offer of many has been to recover and work with what has been stolen.
The big questions are many when at the end of this analysis there are 40% of undecided voters. The truth is that no candidate has explained how to implement his economic proposals, because of the immediacy of his messages and the lack of interest of citizens for politics in the face of the crisis facing the majority of the population. due to the pandemic. .
* Translation by Maria Isabel Santos Lima
www.latinoamerica21.com, a pluralist media engaged in the dissemination of critical and true information about Latin America.