A divided Ecuador brings conservative Guillermo Lasso to power

By Daniela Brik

Quito, Apr 11 (EFE).- The presidential candidate of the conservative CREO-Social Christian Party (PSC) alliance, Guillermo Lasso, was declared the winner of the elections held in Ecuador on Sunday.

With 97.79 percent of the votes counted, Lasso has obtained 52.50 percent of the votes, five points more than his rival Andrés Arauz, of former President Rafael Correa’s Union of Hope party.

“Ecuadorians have chosen a new course, very different from that of the last 14 years in Ecuador,” Lasso said in Guayaquil, in his first remarks in the face of his almost certain win given the insurmountable lead he has over his rival.

Accompanied by his wife, María Lourdes, Vice President-elect Alfredo Borrero, and the leader of the Social Christian Party and former Guayaquil mayor Jaime Nebot, Lasso said that Ecuadorians, “have expressed with their vote the need for change and the desire for better days for all.”

Andrés Arauz, who obtained 47.50 percent of the votes, according to official data, acknowledged his defeat, which he described as a “political setback.”

In a gesture rarely seen in Ecuadorian politics, Arauz told a group of supporters that he will personally call Lasso to congratulate him on his electoral win, which he said demonstrates the democratic spirit that guides his political party.

Lasso’s victory comes as surprise after Arauz won the first round of the presidential elections held on Feb. 7 by a difference of 12.98 percentage points.

Speaking from his city, Guayaquil, the 65-year-old politician thanked his voters and singled out all the members of his campaign team one by one.

“From May 24, we will assume with responsibility the challenge of changing the destiny of our homeland and achieving opportunities and prosperity for all of Ecuador that we all long for,” he said.

Dozens of supporters of the CREO-PSC alliance gathered in Guayaquil and on the main avenue of the neighboring municipality of Samborondón as well as the headquarters of the National Electoral Council (CNE) in Quito, shouting “Lasso president” and waving the blue and white flags of the movement.

Lasso came to the elections as the least favorite candidate, judging by the results of the first round but two events helped him to make a comeback: the last presidential debate with Arauz on Mar. 21 and the revelation that his rival had been on the central bank’s payroll until August 2020, although he was on leave of absence.

During his campaign, Lasso also sought the support of the center, the indigenous sector, youth and women, as well as groups far removed from the traditional orbit of Christian socialism such as the LGTB.

In his victory speech, he promised to defend the members of that group, as well as women, teen mothers, peasants, workers and doctors, among others.

Just over 13 million voters were called to polls in Ecuador and overseas in elections that were considered a geopolitical barometer in Latin America after the shift to the left in Argentina and Bolivia.

Despite his win, Lasso is likely to face serious problems in governing given that his party has 12 out of the 137 seats in the National Assembly while his allies from the PSC have another 19. EFE


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