The Ecuadorians will vote on Sunday to choose between socialist Andres Arauz and conservative Guillermo Lasso to elect a new president to take over the embarrassed Lenín Moreno cloak.
The president-elect will begin his term on May 24 in a country suffering from an economic crisis severely exacerbated by a coronavirus pandemic.
In polls, two candidates are fighting head-to-neck in a classic left-to-right battle to rule the country.
Economist Alaus, 36, is virtually unknown, but with the support of his leader and former president Rafael Correa, he took the lead in the first vote in February.
Former banker Lasso, 65, is a veteran politician who wants to be lucky for the third time in the second presidential elections of Corea in 2013 and Moreno in 2017.
Voting begins at 7 am (Greenwich Mean Time 1200) and requires 13.1 million of the 17.4 million oil-producing countries in South America to vote.
Whoever wins, we need to manage the economic crisis exacerbated by the 7.8% reduction in GDP in 2020.
Total debt is nearly $ 64 billion (63 percent of GDP), of which $ 45 billion (45 percent of GDP) is external debt.
At the same time, more than 340,000 people are infected with Covid-19, of which more than 17,000 die, and then there is a pandemic to manage.
Arauz, a candidate for the Union of Hope Union, outperformed the first round by nearly 33% of the votes cast, about 13 percentage points ahead of Lasso, from the Creating Opportunities movement.
Little known before he ran for the top office, Alaus was a disciple of Corea and he was his running mate, but was convicted of eight years of corruption.
Correa is in exile in Belgium, where her wife was born, and can avoid imprisonment. However, his influence on Ecuadorian politics remains strong.
Esteban Nichols, a political scientist at Simon Bolivar University, told AFP that the election was not left-to-right, but rather “correlation vs. anti-correlationism.”
The two candidates can barely be separated in a poll.
In a previous poll by the market, Sunday’s “technical draw” was predicted, with Araus scoring 50% and Lasso scoring 49%.
The election is “totally uncertain,” market director Brasco Penaherera told AFP.
But Penaherella said the “growth” of former banker Lasso was “much better” than the “growth” of economist Alaus.
Lasso rubbed the spill at less than 0.5 percentage points ahead of indigenous candidate Yak Perez, who disagreed with the results and claimed to be the victim of fraud.
It took a few weeks for Lasso’s second place to be confirmed. Prior to the spill, election officials decided to abandon the usual swift counts to avoid potentially misleading consequences.
Socialist Perez, the second largest block in parliament for the Pachaktic Indigenous Movement, won about 20% of the votes in the first round.
Pachakutik refused to support either candidate in the second round, leaving uncertainty about which direction the supporters would go.
The number of undecided voters after the chaotic first round was about 35%, but has dropped to 8% since then.
But this “has really changed in just a few weeks,” Penaherella said.
Santiago Basabe, a political scientist in the Latin American School of Social Sciences, believes that Alaus has the upper hand.
“Both were able to win, but Alaus seems to have more chances,” Basabe said.
But Pablo Romero, an analyst at the University of Saleciana, said, “To some extent, it doesn’t matter who wins, there’s a feeling that we need to change immediately.”
If Lasso wins, he will face tough work in the largest block in Araus’ leftist coalition and parliament.
“There is a lasting tension with the government. There is little potential for reform that the country needs.”
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