Archive for the ‘Ecuador Elections’ Category

Ecuador’s local elections: Local difficulties

| February 26th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Economist

ECUADOR’S president, Rafael Correa (pictured right), is setting records for the length of time he has spent in office with every day that passes. He remains very popular. Even so, his country’s voters dealt Mr Correa a blow on February 23rd. In city after city, Ecuadoreans handed victory to opposition candidates, leading to long faces at the headquarters of Alianza Pais (AP), Mr Correa’s political vehicle. The loss of the capital, Quito, where a centrist candidate, Mauricio Rodas trounced the incumbent AP mayor, Augusto Barrera (pictured left), smarted the most. “What has happened in Quito is very sad and dangerous,” said Mr Correa.

AP also failed to capture Mr Correa’s hometown, Guayaquil, the country’s largest city, and lost several other major cities like Cuenca and Santo Domingo de los Tsátchilas to opposition challengers. It failed to win any of Ecuador’s ten-biggest cities. Mr Correa insisted that AP continues to be the ... Read More

Ecuador to vote controversial media law

| June 13th, 2013 | No Comments »
From AFP

Ecuador’s Congress is set to vote Friday on a communications bill that will sharply reduce the private media’s allotment of the country’s airwaves over opposition protests.

The law was proposed by President Rafael Correa whose ruling party gained absolute majority in the Congress in May 14 elections.

An attempt to pass the bill last year failed for a lack of a quorum amid opposition charges that the overhaul will institute a mechanism for censuring the private media, which has clashed repeatedly with the leftist Correa.

The measure will redistribute airwaves, reducing private media’s share to a third from 85 percent in radio and 71 percent in television.

Under the bill, a 33 percent share will go to state media and another 33 percent to community radio and television.

The bill also would set up a new regulatory body with power to sanction and fine companies that refuse to correct published information.

In the past, Correa has ... Read More

South America re-election rash: Ecuador’s Correa takes office for the third consecutive time

| May 24th, 2013 | No Comments »
MercoPress

However Correa pledged this week he will not run for re-election and trusts that some candidate will emerge from the ruling party or cadres to continue in 2017 with the “citizens’ revolution” he launched.

Of the democratically elected presidents in the last twenty years, Chavez was the one that spent most time in office: August 1999 to March 2013, when he died of cancer.

Because of his delicate health condition Chavez was unable to take the oath of office on January 10 as mandated by the Venezuelan constitution, but Congress, the Electoral Court and Supreme Court (packed with Chavistas) ruled it was not necessary since it was a re-re-election.

Correa took office for the first time in 2007 and was re-elected in 2009 elections convened following the approval of a new constitutions and as of Friday will have another four years until 2017.

The new Ecuadorean constitution only allows one consecutive re-election and Correa ... Read More

Ecuador’s Correa launches post-election investment drive

| February 22nd, 2013 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

BY EDUARDO GARCIA & ALEXANDRA VALENCIA

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa expects to strike a landmark mining deal with Canadian firm Kinross within six months as he tries to attract more foreign investment after winning re-election on the weekend.

In an interview with Reuters on Thursday, the 49-year-old leader also ruled out any major new socialist reforms during his next four-year term and said the South American country was well-placed to attract foreign companies.

Correa was re-elected on Sunday with 57 percent of the vote, about 34 percentage points ahead of his closest rival. Since taking office in 2007, he has won broad support with heavy spending on welfare, health, education and infrastructure projects.

He has also scared away investors by defaulting on $3.2 billion (2 billion pounds) of debt, rewriting contracts with oil companies to squeeze more revenue from them, pushing through a new constitution that gave him more power and making frequent outbursts ... Read More

Ecuador’s Correa vows to make socialist revolution ‘irreversible’

| February 21st, 2013 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

BY EDUARDO GARCIA

QUITO – Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said his party likely won three-quarters of the seats in Congress in last weekend’s election and vowed on Wednesday to “steamroll” through reforms that will make his socialist model irreversible.

The 49-year-old economist was re-elected on Sunday with 57 percent of votes, some 34 percentage points more than the runner-up. During his six years in office he has won broad support with high spending on infrastructure and social welfare.

Results are still being compiled, but Correa said the ruling Alianza Pais party probably won about 73 percent of Congress’ 137 seats. That means he will be able to push through reforms, although he said he would respect different political opinions.

“This is going to be a legislative steamroller to serve the interests of the Ecuadorean people. … In democracy, the winners rule, but the losers have to be respected,” he told foreign reporters at the ... Read More

Ecuador Re-Elects Correa on Vow to Spend Amid Record Deficit

| February 19th, 2013 | No Comments »

BY NATHAN GILL

Rafael Correa was re-elected as Ecuador’s president yesterday after pledging to boost spending on the poor while the country runs up its biggest-ever budget deficit.

Preliminary voting tallies showed Correa with 57 percent of the vote in his bid for another four-year term, the National Electoral Council said yesterday. With 71 percent of the ballots counted, Correa’s nearest rival, Guillermo Lasso, had polled 23 percent, the agency said. Final results will be released in days, the agency said.

Correa, Ecuador’s first president to be re-elected since 1968, begins a new term with few options to finance his campaign pledges as stagnant oil prices and slumping growth limit funds to boost outlays on social welfare. The self-described socialist revolutionary, who dubbed foreign bondholders “true monsters” when he defaulted on $3.2 billion of debt in 2008, may now return to overseas credit markets to take advantage of a record rally in high-yield debt to help fund ... Read More

Ecuador Election Win Seen Tightening Correa’s Grip

| February 19th, 2013 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal

BY SARA SCHAEFER MUNOZ & MERECEDES ALVARO

QUITO, Ecuador—Rafael Correa’s strong victory in Sunday’s presidential election here opens the way for the leader to deepen his populist policies, expand oil and mineral extraction and, many fear, further clamp down on the media in the small Andean nation.

The re-election of Mr. Correa, who took office in 2007 and is already the country’s longest-serving leader in decades, will put him in power for a third term, or four more years. Mr. Correa won 57% of the vote, compared with 23% for his nearest opponent, former banker Guillermo Lasso.

A significant increase in oil revenue has allowed Mr. Correa to maintain strong levels of subsidies and public spending to build hospitals, roads and schools, helping him to build a robust base of supporters.

Mr. Correa, a 49-year-old U.S.-educated economist, has made progress in developing infrastructure, education and health care, especially in doggedly poor rural areas, analysts ... Read More

Correa Poised for Re-Election in Ecuador on Oil-Backed Spending

| February 15th, 2013 | 1 Comment »

BY NATHAN GILL

Rafael Correa, Ecuador’s first elected president since 1996 to finish his term, is poised to win re-election Feb. 17 as voters reward him for using the OPEC nation’s oil wealth to boost spending on social welfare.

The former economics professor was running ahead of the opposition with 62 percent of those surveyed saying they planned to re-elect him, according to a Feb. 5 poll, after pledging to “radicalize” his “citizens’ revolution” with free education and health care.

As the head of a nation where about one in three of its 15.4 million citizens live in poverty, Correa defaulted on $3.2 billion of bonds in 2008 and pushed through laws nationalizing the country’s oil reserves during his first two terms in office. While the moves provided short-term gains, the 49-year-old Correa, an ally of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, is now paying the cost with stagnant crude output and declines in private investment needed ... Read More

Ecuador fails to enforce treaty with U.S. ahead of presidential election

| February 14th, 2013 | No Comments »
Daily Caller

BY BETSI FORES

As Ecuador prepares to hold its presidential election, a tribunal has ruled that the government violated terms of an investment treaty with the United States by enforcing the terms of a disputed multibillion-dollar environmental judgment against American oil giant Chevron.

The tribunal arbitrating the dispute said the government of Ecuador disobeyed two prior rulings that ordered the “South American government to prevent plaintiffs representing environmentalist groups from enforcing the judgment abroad,” Washington Free Beacon reports.

The panel ruled that Ecuador was in violation of international law and its treaty obligations with the United States.

In 2011, Chevron was ordered by Ecuadorian courts to pay $18.2 billion in environmental damages to remedy the environmental done at the Lago Agrio oil field from by oil company Texaco, which was later acquired by Chevron. Since the judgement, it has been revealed that the plaintiffs had bribed court officials to receive a ruling in their favor.

The latest arbitration panel directed Ecuador to “take all ... Read More

Ecuador: An Election Primer

| February 12th, 2013 | No Comments »
From CSIS

BY GUSTAVO PALACIO

According to official statements, the outcome of Ecuador’s February 17 general election is already determined and there is little that competing candidates can do to stop Rafael Correa from serving another four-year term, thereby following the footsteps of role model Hugo Chávez who has stayed in office for 14 years in Venezuela. The president’s supporters are also convinced that Correa’s lead will ensure their candidates a place in the 124-seat National Assembly. However, not all of those polls show the president with a lead strong enough to have at least 40 percent of the vote and a 10-point advantage over the closest rival, which is what Correa must obtain to avoid a runoff on April 7. Correa supporters base their anticipated victory on a group of polls from October to January that show a 50-60 percent preference for the president, followed by candidates Guillermo Lasso and Lucio Gutiérrez with ... Read More

Ecuador’s Permanent Mob-Rule Campaign

| February 11th, 2013 | 1 Comment »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal

BY MARY ANASTASIA O’GRADY

Barack Obama uses his high office to conduct a permanent campaign against his opponents, often falsely attributing the basest of motives to them. That’s pretty much the style of Latin American demagogues as well. Fortunately it works less well in the United States than south of the border.

The difference is that the American in the Oval Office is constrained by limits to his power under the U.S. Constitution. Even if 24/7 campaigning makes him popular, two other branches of government can check him and the minority opposition retains its rights.

Not so in, say, Ecuador, where President Rafael Correa is a candidate for re-election on Feb. 17. Mr. Correa is a permanent campaigner and has been so since his first presidential victory in November 2006. He has spent the past six years demonizing the opposition rather than looking for common ground as a leader might be expected to ... Read More

The man with the mighty microphone

| February 8th, 2013 | No Comments »
The Economist

New highways and motorways snake across Ecuador, lined with billboards reminding drivers how bad the Andean country’s potholed road network was until Rafael Correa was first elected as president six years ago. The towns and villages boast new schools and health clinics. The minimum wage has risen well above inflation, and some 2m poorer people (in a population of 14.5m) get monthly cash transfers. Free school uniforms and subsidised mortgages all help to give ordinary Ecuadoreans the sense that “most things are being done right,” says Pili Troya, a civil servant, who plans to vote to give Mr Correa another four-year term in the country’s general election on February 17th.

In his campaign advertisements Mr Correa, a good-looking, smooth-tongued 49-year-old economist, presents himself as the man who turned his country round, after several years of political instability and economic humiliation, which included the collapse of the currency and its replacement by ... Read More

Ecuador’s Correa has large lead in presidential race: polls

| February 8th, 2013 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

By Eduardo Garcia and Alexandra Valencia

Leftist Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa has maintained a huge lead over his nearest opposition rival in the run-up to the February 17 elections, recent polls show.

Correa’s popularity has remained above 50 percent throughout his six years in office, buoyed by his personal charisma as well as his government’s heavy spending on hospitals, roads and schools.

Leading opposition candidate, Guillermo Lasso, has tried to woo voters by promising lower taxes. Lasso, a former banker, has found support among middle-class voters but has failed to sway many others disenchanted with Correa’s policies.

A survey released on Thursday by respected pollster Perfiles de Opinion shows Correa winning almost 62 percent of the vote versus 9 percent for Lasso.

“The (opposition) candidates have struggled to put forward attractive campaign proposals to undermine a president that has high popularity rates,” said Paulina Recalde, head of Perfiles de Opinion.

Correa also appears to be benefiting ... Read More

IMPORTANCIA HISTORICA DE LAS ELECCIONES

| January 31st, 2013 | 2 Comments »
Ecuador en Vivo

POR GUSTAVO PALACIO

No hay mayor ciego ni sordo que el que no quiere ver y no quiere escuchar. En nuestro caso cabría además añadir que no hay peor ciudadano que el que se hace de la vista gorda frente al poder omnimodo del Estado, por un beneficio personal, por comodidad o por miedo.

Las próximas elecciones revisten importancia histórica para el Ecuador.

En esta ocasión no se trata de simples comicios para que la población decida que propuesta política y económica es la mejor para el país en los próximos cuatro años; situación usual cuando se vive bajo un régimen democrático donde se respeta la división de poderes y la alternabilidad en el mismo.

Hoy en día la sociedad ecuatoriana vive un momento político de gravedad. En el país se ha impuesto una dictadura disfrazada de legitimidad democrática, que se caracteriza por la concentración de todos los poderes en las manos de una ... Read More

State spending fuels Correa’s re-election bid in Ecuador

| January 25th, 2013 | No Comments »

BY EDUARDO GARCIA

ZUMBAHUA, Ecuador – Once a forgotten cluster of mud houses amid windswept peaks, the Ecuadorean village of Zumbahua today boasts a state-of-the-art schoolhouse with large projection touch screens, Internet access in every classroom and lessons in three languages.

Indigenous Kichwa Indians who once stuffed savings under their mattresses now have a bank in town and a free Internet cafe – all paid for by the state.

The treacherous muddy road to the village is being widened and paved, and residents are particularly proud of their local school.

“Education has improved dramatically … The students know how to work with computers better than kids from the city,” headmaster Vicente Caiza said.

Zumbahua is one example of how Ecuadoreans from the Andes mountains to the Amazon jungle have benefited from heavy government spending that will almost certainly win socialist President Rafael Correa a new term in next month’s presidential election.

Buoyed by strong oil revenue, record tax collection ... Read More

Opinion polls anticipate a windfall re-election vote for Correa in Ecuador

| January 7th, 2013 | No Comments »
MercoPress

“In an electoral process you can never give as a fact what polls show months or weeks ahead but currently the percentage support of Correa ensures his victory in the first round next February”, said Paulina Recalde head of the polling company.

Presidential and legislative elections are scheduled for next 17 February and if no candidate manages 50% of the vote a run off takes place 7 April. The national opinion poll was completed before Christmas with a plus/minus 1.4 percentage point error margin.

“Correa’s hard core vote in the ruling party Alianza Pais was 87% while for Lasso it reached 64% in his Creating Opportunities party”, pointed out Recalde.

Of the other presidential hopefuls only two, former president Lucio Gutierrez and Alberto Acosta have a vote intention of 4.5% and 3.5% while the rest of candidates don’t make it to the threshold of 2%.

The poll also included a perception of the current ... Read More

Opinion polls anticipate a windfall re-election vote for Correa in Ecuador

| January 7th, 2013 | 1 Comment »
MercoPress

“In an electoral process you can never give as a fact what polls show months or weeks ahead but currently the percentage support of Correa ensures his victory in the first round next February”, said Paulina Recalde head of the polling company.

Presidential and legislative elections are scheduled for next 17 February and if no candidate manages 50% of the vote a run off takes place 7 April. The national opinion poll was completed before Christmas with a plus/minus 1.4 percentage point error margin.

“Correa’s hard core vote in the ruling party Alianza Pais was 87% while for Lasso it reached 64% in his Creating Opportunities party”, pointed out Recalde.

Of the other presidential hopefuls only two, former president Lucio Gutierrez and Alberto Acosta have a vote intention of 4.5% and 3.5% while the rest of candidates don’t make it to the threshold of 2%.

The poll also included a perception of the current ... Read More

Ecuador lawmakers raise bank taxes ahead of election

| November 21st, 2012 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

BY EDUARDO GARCIA

QUITO – Ecuador lawmakers on Tuesday approved hiking bank taxes to finance cash payments to the poor, a move that could cement President Rafael Correa’s chances of winning re-election, but which banks have described as a confiscation.

Correa, the clear favorite to win the February vote, has broad popular support thanks to anti-poverty initiatives and a leftist platform of boosting state involvement in the economy.

“They will continue earning, a bit less, but they will continue earning,” Correa told reporters after the law was approved.

Opposition critics slam the measure as a jab at banker-turned-politician Guillermo Lasso, who has launched a bid for the presidency and is the most popular opposition candidate.

“He took a visceral decision to get back at me, a personal move against someone who was faster than him and thought about the poor,” Lasso told the local daily Expreso on Sunday.

The measure would finance a raise in a monthly ... Read More

Poll gives Correa clear lead in February election in Ecuador

| November 20th, 2012 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa holds a commanding lead ahead of February’s election as an opinion poll published on Monday showed him more than 30 points ahead of his closest rival.

High government spending on roads, hospitals and schools has made the 49-year-old economist very popular with the low-income majority, and he will have the advantage of facing a divided opposition that will include at least five other candidates.

According to a poll by local pollster Cedatos, Correa would win 52 percent of votes, 31 percentage points more than banker-turned-politician Guillermo Lasso, who hails from the coastal city of Guayaquil.

The Cedatos poll shows that support for Correa, who has boosted social spending and given the state a key roll in the economy, has decreased slightly in the past month. The company’s previous poll published in October showed Correa winning 55 percent of votes, 32 percentage points more than Lasso.

Although Correa usually avoids naming Lasso, ... Read More

Four more years? Ecuador’s Correa announces run for reelection

| November 14th, 2012 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in The Christian Science Monitor

BY JAMES BOSWORTH

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa announced he is running for reelection. His approval is above 50 percent in nearly every poll. He will face a large group of opposition candidates, none of whom have particularly strong support among voters.

There are three issues that matter in this election: 1) The Economy: Ecuador‘s economy is not great, but recent growth has been good enough to get President Correa reelected. 2) Citizen Security: The perception of security on the streets of Ecuador’s major cities has gotten worse in recent years due to organized crime and youth gangs. The country is far from a security crisis as is experienced in Central America and Venezuela, but security is a top issue on voters’ minds.

3) Personality: Correa retains support because his style remains well liked by many voters. The opposition candidates vary from charismatic but relatively unknown to completely despised by a majority of voters. The candidate who challenges Correa needs to ... Read More

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