She is a cyclist and marathon runner. He, an energetic athlete. They are young. They are relatively new to politics. And they prepare for a race that will be full of obstacles. Luisa González, the trusted leader of former President Rafael Correa, and Daniel Noboa, the young businessman who surprised In the elections this Sunday in Ecuador, they are already working to add votes between now and October 15, when they will face each other again at the polls to define who of the two will be the next president.
The clear dispute is reissued in this country between correísmo and anticorreísmo.
González, 45, a candidate for the center-left movement Revolución Ciudadana, won the first round with 33.3% of the vote this Sunday, a result close to what the polls had anticipated. The surprise was Noboa35 years old and standard-bearer for Acción Democrática Nacional, who came second with 23.66%, although previous polls placed him far behind among the eight initial candidates.
Christian Zurita, who replaced Fernando Villavicencio in the Construye movement, assassinated by hitmen on August 9, was third with 16.5% of the votes, according to official data released this Monday, with 93% of the votes counted.
The son of Alvaro Noboa, the wealthy banana businessman who ran five times -unsuccessfully- for the presidency, and González, who seeks to become the first female president in Ecuador’s historymust now weave alliances and deploy strategies to ensure the votes of those who this Sunday chose other alternatives.
And although Correa’s movement has an unconditional mass of voters that ensures strong support, the young businessman who presents himself as the renewal of politics It will surely be able to absorb a large part of the votes of Zurita and Jan Topicthe candidate who sold the image of a strong hand against crime and was a staunch enemy of the former center-left president.
Luisa González will not have an easy road. The precedent of 2021 illustrates the difficulties: in the presidential elections of that year, the correísta Andrés Arauz -now a candidate for vice president- won the first round with 32.7% against Guillermo Lasso, who obtained 19.7%. But in the balloting the scenario turned around and the conservative prevailed with 52.3% compared to 47.6% of the correísta.
Luisa González “will have a very difficult time increasing the historical 30% to 35% of voters who remain loyal to Rafael Correa,” said analyst Santiago Basabe, a professor of Political Science at Flacso.
It is the same perception of other observers with whom this envoy spoke in Quito.
Basabe explained to Clarion that an eventual victory for Luisa González will lay the foundations for a possible return of Correa –who lives in Belgiumhis wife’s native country, and if he returns to Ecuador he would have to serve an 8-year prison sentence for corruption- and it would mark a change of course.
But Basabe clarifies that the Citizen Revolution should open its horizons and propose a political agenda that goes beyond its leader, in order “to be able to put together a coalition of political forces that will allow it to win a presidential election again.”
For the analyst Alberto Acosta, editor of the publication Weekly Analysis, the correísta proposal seems to be based on a return to the past. “We already did it,” González repeated several times during the debate that faced the candidates a week before the election. “What he proposes is to return to that past of the government of Rafael Correa, which his supporters remember as a time of prosperity,” Acosta told Clarion.
The “renewal” candidate
Noboa, on the other hand, is presented as something new. He bet above all on the young voteand perhaps that explains much of the percentage he obtained at the polls.
“Noboa’s image grew after the debate. He was moderate, he did not confront, he focused a lot on the young public, spoke of the future he managed to get away from traditional political positions,” added Acosta.
Facing the second round, the young businessman, who was a legislator for the coastal province of Santa Elena, stated that he will not make alliances. “Actually, he doesn’t have to point to the anti-correista vote, because he already has it secured. What you should look for is the softest votethe one who could vote for correísmo or not ”, explained to this envoy the political consultant Andrés Jaramillo.
Although the campaign that ended this Sunday was marked by fire for the shooting of Fernando Villavicencio after an electoral act in Quito, the two rivals that remain at stake must now deploy their proposals not only to guarantee security, which is undoubtedly one of the biggest concerns of Ecuadorians.
But at the same time they will have to convince with their economic programs, when unemployment, poverty and lack of opportunities It hits a significant portion of society.
But whoever takes office at the end of this year will not have much time. The president who assumes must finish the mandate of Guillermo Lasso, which should end on May 25, 2025 but will be interrupted prematurely.
The center-right president decided to shorten his term, dissolve parliament and call early elections – a measure provided for in the Ecuadorian Constitution – when he was cornered by a political trial. The opposition in Congress accused him of an alleged case of corruption that has never been proven and that the president emphatically denies.
In any case, “whoever takes office now will already be thinking about 2025,” he told Clarion the political scientist Basabe. There will be no time to take on long-term projects and it will not be easy to govern either, with a very fragmented Parliament in which correísmo will be the force with the most seats, but with just over 35%, a proportion that will not allow it to make decisions if it does not form alliances.
González and Noboa put on their shoes to start this race. More than speed, they will need political waist and concrete proposals for a country that faces urgent challenges.
Quito, special envoy