Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Ecuador: Lasso admits defeat and calls for unity

QUITO ( Associated Press) – President Guillermo Lasso acknowledged Monday that the unfavorable results in a referendum and the election of sectional officials held Sunday are meant to divert the government’s attention, before which he called for a grand national agreement to settle demands. called upon. Of Ecuador.

According to preliminary results, the winners of those elections were former President Rafael Correa’s opposition party Union por la Esperanza and Pachacutic of the Indigenous Peoples.

On radio and television, he insisted that beyond results, citizens wished for a better country with more security, better education and health, more work, better jobs and wages. “What happened on Sunday deserves the attention of the people to the government and we are not going to shirk that responsibility.”

He said that following these results “our commitment to Ecuadorians becomes even stronger” on issues such as security, job creation and the expansion of social assistance, reaffirming his decision to get closer, listen and learn from the people.

With nearly 50% of the votes counted, the eight questions asked in the government-promoted referendum tended to have a strong “No” and focused on the issue of civil security in the troubled country. crime and drug trafficking. The consultation was seen as a management thermometer for Lasso, the 67-year-old banker who will take charge in May 2021.

“The results are dramatic for the government because the consultation can be an oxygen tank for a highly unpopular government,” Grace Jaramillo of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, told The Associated Press. He pointed out that he had two “extremely difficult” years in government, with possible attempts to remove him from power.

As far as elections are concerned, the party of Korea (2007–2017) achieved significant returns. Korea lives abroad. According to partial results, Union por la Esperanza’s candidates Pablo Muñoz and Aquiles Álvarez won the mayorships of Quito and Guayaquil, respectively. In the municipality of Guayaquil, he won, ending 31 years of government of the right-wing Social Cristiano party.

Meanwhile, Paola Pabon won the elections for the Prefecture (governorship) of Pichincha Province, Marcela Aguinaga in Guayas and Leonardo Orlando in Manabí, which are among the most important in the country.

Analyst Monica Banegas, director of the Hacienda Ecuador Foundation and network of political scientists, told the Associated Press the government is “very tired and beset” by a hostile political environment in which not only the government but the country loses because — she said — institutional And there were questions to solve people’s problems.

In the central Andean highlands, the indigenous Pachacutic opposition party has won the offices of three governors and several mayors. The Swadeshi movement besieged the government for three weeks last June with violent protests to reject a hike in gasoline prices.

Three of the eight questions were related to security, including one on reforms to the constitution to allow extradition of Ecuadorians who are wanted by other countries in criminal proceedings for drug trafficking or organized crime. Ecuador’s constitution currently does not allow citizens to be extradited to face trial or serve sentences in other countries.

It was one of the most publicized questions by the Lasso government, appealing to the insecurity that the country registers and to the social context of fear and the perception of vulnerability due to the increase in crimes.

Ecuador ended last year with a murder record. The 4,539 violent deaths in 2022 are more than double the 2,048 crimes in 2021, according to police counts, and they are the highest recorded since 1990, when such statistics began to be counted. According to officials, only around 300 cases were resolved.

Given citizens’ disillusionment with politics and institutions, two of the questions sought changes to the functioning of the Citizens’ Participation Council, which designates the main controlling authorities such as the prosecutor, attorney general or comptroller, and the other two were related to political According to polls, the composition of the parties and the National Assembly, the institution with the worst percentage of citizen approval.

According to analyst Banegas, Lasso should now start a dialogue with all political and social sectors, change tactics and adjust to the needs of the majority in order to remain in power for another two years.

Lasso also faced an attempt in the middle of last year to be removed from power by constitutional means by an assembly with an opposition majority, but that did not succeed because some votes were missing to approve that motion.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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