Monday, May 29, 2023

Ecuador: Potential candidates for new elections emerge amid political crisis

Quito — In the midst of a political crisis that began after President Guillermo Lasso dissolved Ecuador’s National Assembly, potential candidates for the presidential and legislative elections have begun to emerge.

The supreme electoral authority projected that new elections for assembly members and the president—who would complete the current term—will be held in August. The electoral body is expected to call fresh elections in the coming days.

Among the politicians promoting themselves to contest the brief one-and-a-half-year presidential term is indigenous and environmental advocate Yaku Pérez, who in the previous elections was supposed to take Lasso out in the second round, who eventually prevailed by a minimal margin.

The names of former Vice President Otto Sonnenholzner, former assembly members Fernando Villavicencio and Daniel Noboa, and former presidential candidate Pedro Freille have also been mentioned. In addition, it is expected that the main opposition party Union for Hope – belonging to former President Rafael Correa (2007–2017) – and the official Krio party will attend with their respective standard-bearers.

Perez said in a phone interview with The Associated Press on Friday that he was preparing for the 2025 race, but “as the day before, it looks like we are in the middle of this transition period.” are going to rise to the challenge”.

“It is very difficult, very difficult, but we have to accept it because of the historical responsibility with the country,” he said. He said that the Democracy Yes Party, together with political and social organizations, has proposed his candidature.

Perez has run in past elections for the Pachacutic Indigenous Party, flying banners defending water sources, land, and rejecting mining and oil extractionism. He campaigned on a bamboo bicycle and on foot, which aroused sympathy, especially in popular areas.

Perez pointed out that Ecuador is going through “the worst crisis ever” due to economic problems and a resurgence of violence from organized crime and drug trafficking, as well as “rampant corruption”. The politician also pointed out the government’s “laziness” towards the indigenous and peasant sectors, considered the most vulnerable.

Lasso, 67, who is in the middle of his four years in government, ordered the dissolution of the assembly – which was impeaching him for alleged embezzlement – as a way out of the political confrontation. The president has not explicitly said whether he will run again.

During the afternoon, fifty university students protested Lasso’s decision in the area around Central University, where they burned a puppet with the president’s face on it.

The country has remained relatively calm since the dissolution of the Assembly.

The National Electoral Council projected that the first round of the election would take place on 20 August and the second round would eventually take place on 15 October, although these dates must be approved by that body.

Sonnenholzner, who was vice president during Lenin Moreno’s government (2017-2021), told local Radio Unica he is analyzing the possibility of contesting new elections. “We are not only capable but bound to face the challenges of a potential presidential candidacy,” he said.

For his part, Villavicencio, a former lawmaker known to be opposed to Correa, also confirmed he was considering that option, but said he would meet with parties and organizations that could support him before making a final decision. Are.

According to analysts, from the beginning of Lasso’s administration, the opposition majority in the Legislature constituted a permanent obstacle for the President to be able to execute his government’s plan, by blocking or rejecting projects that could be called executive investment. important to attract and modify Abolished labor rules.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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