Ecuadorians face an absolute choice in the presidential election

Ecuadorians cast their ballots in a presidential election on Sunday, a choice between the young leftist economist backed by the country’s former leader Rafael Correa and a conservative, self-made millionaire ex-banker with a free-market agenda.

The outcome of the vote will go a long way in determining how the country faces its dire economic situation, which predicts a coronavirus epidemic but is exacerbated by it.

Ecuador is heavy To the IMF, Bondholders and Chinese banks. The economy shrank 8.6 percent last year and the central bank expects it to return only 3.1 percent in 2021.

At the top of most surveys was Andres Araus (336), bidding to become the youngest president in the country’s history.

Unheard of until the end of last year, he was handed ked Korea Four years later, to lead the country to the left again, incumbent President Lenin Moreno has turned it into a political center. Moreno, whose popularity has crashed since he tried to enforce austerity and manage the epidemic, is not in favor of re-election.

Arauj Promised to reconsider .5 6.5bn nding n contract Ecuador agreed with the IMF last year that its terms were too strict. He also described a separate agreement with bondholders as “unconstitutional” on the condition that the country become a 17.4 billion sovereign.

His opponent is Guillermo Lasso, 655, a former Coca-Cola executive and former CEO of Bangkok Guayaquil, one of the largest banks in the country. A member of Opas Dei, a social conservative and Catholic organization, he has promised to establish Ecuador on a new economic track after 15 long years of leftist rule.

“Bondholders will be wary of winning a petition,” Capital Economics said in a note to clients this week. “He wants to move away from the IMF’s plan for austerity, which will exacerbate the risk of sovereign debt. It is noteworthy, however, that Lasso has also criticized parts of the current IMF agreement and its policies may not be enough to restore Ecuador’s debt stability. “

The campaign has declined in recent days due to the epidemic. Quito and other cities are under curfew at night and large gatherings have been banned. However, voting is compulsory, and there are 13.1 million people out of a population of 13.4 meters.

“You have to hope that whoever wins will take care of the economy, but also think about their health situation, which is important at the moment,” said Gabriel Black, a 43-year-old self-employed worker. His ballot ing in Quito on Sunday morning

Ecuador was one of the most affected countries in the world in the early months of the epidemic. Although it has improved somewhat since then, the number of infections is rising again. It vaccinated only 1.6 percent of its population, one of the lowest rates on the continent.

Arauz won easily Voting in the first round With one-third of the vote in February but since then Polls say the gap is closed Some Lasso continues to try to pull together an “anti-Korean coalition” of separate powers, arguing that if Arouz wins, it will effectively return to power in Korea – who has been in exile in Belgium since leaving office in 2017 and banned from returning to Ecuador. Done Convicted of corruption.

“There are many levels of Ecuadorian elections, but one of the decision-makers is whether the majority of voters will be ready to return to Korean politics and the economy,” Norman Mack, a Latin American analyst at The Economist Intelligence, said. Unit

Absolutely different in the academic trajectory of the two candidates.

Arauz has studied in the United States, Ecuador and Mexico. At the age of twenty-four, a director of Ecuador’s central bank described himself as a Keynesian and counted Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz among his heroes.

Lasso As a teenager he worked part-time to pay school fees but has since built a fortune through a series of business ventures.

“I voted for Lasso,” said Monica Villanon, a 57-year-old banker, as she left a polling station in Quito. “He is not an economist, he does not have a PhD but he has experience and a good mind. I can’t say he trusted me completely but there is no other credible alternative. “

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