Ecuador’s ruling party candidate takes lead ahead of presidential vote

miami heraldThe presidential candidate from Ecuador’s ruling party has pulled ahead in key polls ahead of the April 2 runoff that will determine the fate of the country’s decade-long “Citizens’ Revolution” and President Rafael Correa’s socialist legacy.

A series of polls released this week give Lenín Moreno, Correa’s one-time vice president, a lead over former banker Guillermo Lasso. In particular, polling firm Cedatos, whose closely-watched polls accurately predicted the Feb. 19 first-round vote, puts Moreno ahead for the first time since its runoff polling began.

In a survey released Wednesday, Cedatos said Moreno has 52.4 percent of the valid votes versus Lasso’s 47.6 percent. A month ago, Lasso had a four-point lead in the race.

Whatever the outcome, the new president is in for a rough ride, said Luis Verdesoto, a Quito-based political analyst. The new leader will likely have to engage in some dramatic and unpopular belt tightening amid deep polarization.

“Without a doubt we’re going to see a lot of instability regardless of who wins,” he said. “I think we’re in an unfortunate moment, not of national cohesion but national division.”

The campaign in the small South American nation has been unusually bitter and heated, with each side accusing the other of acting in bad faith. …

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