The February 7 elections in Ecuador could open a new scenario whose transcendence goes beyond the borders of the Andean country: a second round between the winning candidate, Andrés Arauz, and the candidate of the indigenous movement, Yaku Pérez.
The traditional polarization between left and right is now replaced by a new field of political definitions, which is the confrontation within the forces of the left.
On the one hand, what we could today call the traditional left, embodied in the postulates of former President Rafael Correa, Ecuadorian version of Bolivarianism inaugurated by Chávez and pursued by Maduro in Venezuela.
And this new expression that would aim to consolidate with the victory of the Pachakútik movement, which combines the ancestral values of defense of nature against extraction, with the positions of global environmentalism and the demands of emerging movements, such as feminism and environmentalism.
The electoral result presents us with an image of disfigurement of the traditional right; the PSC-CREO (Partido Social Cristiano e Movimiento Creando Oportunidades, CREO) alliance proved to be a failure.
From the outset, it revealed its underlying weakness: an electoral rather than a programmatic alliance, united only by the necessary electoral presence, but accompanied by a reluctance to over-reinforce one of its expressions at the expense of the other. .
In the end, they united, without being sufficiently aware of it, by a tendency to boycott like a tendency: little clarity in the affirmation of a common political program which means proposing a real alternative to get out of the deep economic crisis and health that affects the country.
The 19.58% of the votes obtained by the candidate Guillermo Lasso, of the PSC-CREO alliance, are far from the 44.41% that the two forces managed to sum up in the 2017 elections, against Lenin Moreno. It is therefore a fragmentation that has prevented them, as a tendency, from defeating the left of the right represented by Alianza País. Now, “united”, the result is worse.
And reconfiguration of the left
On the other hand, Andrés Arauz’s victory also reflects a significant drop in Correismo’s electoral performance compared to the results that this group presented in the previous elections. He can barely exceed 30% while historically his level of intention to vote has exceeded 40%, reaching 39.36% acceptance in the last election.
Two actors emerge in a surprising way. On the one hand, Yaku Pérez, who represents Pachakutik, the political branch of CONAIE, the historic organization of the indigenous movement, with nearly 20% of the vote. On the other, Javier Hervas, who obtained 16%, representing Izquierda Democrática, a center party, a reissue of the traditional Ecuadorian social democracy, in force in the 1980s and 1990s.
The electoral result shows the growth of Pachakútik, the protagonist of the October 2019 uprising. Yaku took charge of the positioning of his candidacy within the movement, bringing together the other leaders of the indigenous movement of the corrísmo, Iza and Vargas, a line that consolidates with the current result.
The same goes for the vote behind Javier Hervas. The need to move away from “ideological” rhetoric for pragmatism to come up with commercial solutions to the employment problem, especially for mid-sized urban sectors severely affected by the crisis.
Distribution of votes
A quick read of the distribution of votes is informative. Arauz is fortified in the old bastions of the populist coast and the Christian social right (Guayas and Manabí). While Yaku consolidates its representation of the rural world, the mountains and the Amazon, where Pachakutik and CONAIE have their most coherent political and electoral strongholds.
In general, the result allows us to appreciate the emergence of a renewed vote that expresses a great sensitivity to issues foreign to traditional contenders, both right and corrísmo.
The need to turn to a model of sustainable development and growth, in addition to the traditional rhetoric resulting from the redistributive struggle. The inclusion of new issues such as gender demands and environmentalism, as well as the quest to fight poverty through job creation and not through populist donations.
The challenges of the second round which will take place on April 11 are enormous. The clash is no longer between the left and the traditional right, which has been practically relegated from the electoral scene, but is situated in the field of the left.
For candidate Arauz, it will be extremely difficult to cope with Yaku Pérez and his program, which includes traditional demands from the indigenous world and new demands from emerging social actors. The offers of subsidies and donations will no longer be enough to captivate an electorate who is moving towards new references and solutions linked to the need to combine sustainable growth of the economy with the defense and deepening of rights and freedoms, a position that represents the line opposed to the postulates of the corrísmo of Arauz.
The challenge for Yaku Perez is also tough. How can you dramatically increase your vote by establishing clear lines of communication with voters in Lasso and Hervas, so that you can walk together in the containment line in Correísmo? How to infect the voter of big cities and the populist voter, of the goodness and the scope of his proposal?
Translation by Maria Isabel Santos Lima
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