The result of the elections in Ecuador, in addition to signifying a harsh defeat for Correismo – a force that has dominated local politics for more than ten years – shows a new x-ray of the country, with which the president-elect Guillermo Lasso, 65, must live.
The center-right banker and businessman pulled off the feat of a turnaround after a poor first-round performance in which he nearly lost his seat to indigenous leader Yaku Pérez.
The strategy to change the narrative of his candidacy worked, and for that it was essential to hire Jaime Durán Barba, the Ecuadorian marketer behind Mauricio Macri’s victory in the 2015 presidential election in Argentina.
Lasso’s television and social media advertising gained momentum, incorporating important flags from an electorate who did not vote for him: young people, environmentalists, women, anti-corrist progressives. Certainly this exposed the contestant to ridicule, including TikTok dances on the menu. It could have gone very badly, but it wasn’t.
Lasso beat Rafael Correa’s (2007-2017) candidate, Andrés Arauz, by 52.5% against 47.5%. The difference ruled out the possibility of a dispute over the recount, as happened in the first round (at the behest of Yaku Pérez) and in the 2017 election, when Lasso himself did not recognize the victory of Lenín Moreno and took to the streets with a megaphone. in his hand, saying that a fraud had occurred.
After the inauguration, scheduled for May 24, the president-elect will face difficulties. The most obvious are the health crisis, with just over 1% of the population vaccinated and a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic saturating hospitals in several major urban centers. In the economy, an external debt of 17.4 billion dollars and a GDP which fell by 7.8% last year.
Lasso’s first concern should be reaching a consensus to approve his measures. For this, he will have to meet with a Congress (which in Ecuador is unicameral) in which he will have only 12 parliamentarians.
The main political force will be the Union for Hope cooperative coalition, with 49 seats. The second will be the indigenous movement, led by Pachakutik (by Yaku Pérez), with 27 members of Congress. “Lasso will have a very difficult task, full of obstacles. His promises to reach out to new allies in the center and on the left must prove to be real and swift in order to reach some sort of consensus,” said analyst Pedro Donoso. .
It is by looking at this immediate future that Arauz gave a speech of acceptance of the defeat, always Sunday evening (11), very affirmed, in the sense of marking the territory which will be that of the opposition. “We want to be an Ecuador and help the elected president. But we will be a serious, firm and democratic opposition,” said the young leader of the alliance who will have a majority in Congress.
The indigenous movement, which has no unity yet, but has gained a huge volume in terms of representation, will be another to demand fulfillment of the President-elect’s promises on environmental concerns and regulation of mining operations, without invade indigenous territories.
In her acceptance speech, Lasso mentioned the need for policies to protect women from violence and girls who became pregnant early. But he insisted on continuing to be against abortion and thanked God for his victory more than once.
It needs to be watched closely if it will deliver on its promises of more and better laws to protect the LGBT community and the female population. Much to the astonishment of this sector of the electorate, Lasso has repeatedly stated that “the family is the main value of a society”.
Another area of attention is security, an increasingly recurring demand from Ecuadorians. In recent times, drug cartels and Colombian guerrilla dissent have been active in the country. An example of the gravity of the situation is the recent mutiny in several prisons across the country. For this sector, Lasso promises a tough policy – and polls show that it is a resource supported by the majority of the population.
Finally, Lasso will have the support, already expressed by his Colombian counterpart, Iván Duque, in coordinated policies to put pressure on the Nicolás Maduro regime in Venezuela. He defends more pressure and sanctions to stop the dictatorship.
Besides Duke, President-elect Sebastián Piñera (Chile), Luis Lacalle Pou (Uruguay), Alberto Fernández (Argentina) and Jair Bolsonaro (Brazil) greeted the President-elect.