In his first interview with foreign vehicles after his name was confirmed as Ecuador’s second round approached, center-right candidate Guillermo Lasso, 65, said he would embrace the flags of “preservation of the environment, defense of the rights of minorities and women, which were not in the foreground before “.
“I heard the polls of February 7 and saw that the concern of Ecuadorians, especially young people, about these issues is very great. And therefore, as a candidate in the second round, he is to my duty to incorporate them “, he declared, during a videoconference in which Folha participated, with British and Colombian journalists.
Lasso will run for president of Ecuador in the second round on April 11 against left-wing candidate Andrés Arauz, an ally of former President Rafael Correa (2007-2017).
The country was on hold for two weeks until the end of the 100% poll on Sunday (21). Arauz added 32.7% of the vote and Lasso 19.74%.
Third, and therefore out of the race, was left-wing indigenous leader Yaku Pérez, with 19.38%.
This is Lasso’s third attempt to be president of the country. In 2017, he lost in the second round by a difference of just over 1% of the vote and contested the count, leading his supporters to demonstrate for several days in front of the headquarters of the CNE (National Electoral Council).
Former executive chairman of Banco Guayaquil, Lasso was also governor of the province of Guayas and minister of economy and energy. He comes from Guayaquil, the economic heart of the country, unlike Arauz, who is from Quito, the political capital.
Asked by Folha how Ecuador would stack up against its neighbors in the region, who re-elected left-wing presidents, such as Argentina, Mexico and Bolivia, Lasso said that “all of the leaders of the region will be treated on an equal footing. respect “. “My personal preferences cease to exist if I start to perform this function,” he added.
In Argentina’s 2019 election, Lasso said he supported the re-election of Mauricio Macri, with whom he has a close relationship. “I don’t deny it, but the one that I personally prefer will not interfere with anything, I want to have the best possible relationship with Alberto Fernández, if he is elected.”
Regarding the challenge of the final result of the first round, held by third place, Lasso said that the discussion “does not fit” and that we must look to the future. “Any dispute is possible, but only until the electoral body decides. Now it is no longer for Mr. Pérez to stand.”
The banker also said that he did not fear an uprising by the indigenous leaders because he has the support of various organizations and unions in this sector of society. “I am deepening this effort, to maintain peace in the electoral process,” he said.
Despite the exchange of beards in recent weeks and controversies over requests for a recount of the votes, Lasso is hopeful that Pérez will back him up. “The Ecuadorian people have had enough of this polarization and can no longer opt for corrismo. In this sense, I believe that there is a space for dialogue with Pérez.”
Asked about the possible stigma of being a banker, Lasso replied that he had been working since the age of 14 and that “working with a bank is like any job.” “And once I got into public life, things turned out differently, I never mixed private and public life.”
According to him, in the crisis that the country is going through, with debts and recession, his story is an attraction for his candidacy. “I know investors and anyone who might be interested in investing in Ecuador, and I will know how to get them here.”
Unlike his opponent, Arauz, who said he wanted to review and possibly not pay the debt to the IMF (International Monetary Fund), Lasso said it was not under consideration. “We have to have a successful relationship with the fund, learn to work with it and not face it.”
Debt to the IMF stands at 6.5 billion US dollars (35 billion reais) and the country recorded a drop in its GDP of nine percentage points in 2020.