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Ecuador to hold presidential inauguration

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Ecuador to hold presidential inauguration

Photo: Angel Dejesus/Associated Press

Guillermo Lasso will take office today as Ecuador’s new president after a surprise upset in the April 11 runoff election.

Lasso, a member of the center-right Creating Opportunities (CREO) party, defeated Andrés Arauz of the leftist Union for Hope party. Lasso’s victory marks the end of former President Rafael Correa’s legacy and an Ecuadorian shift away from a socialist vision for the country. Indigenous voters, who cannot easily be divided along traditional party lines, carried Lasso to victory.

Expect Lasso to pursue a conservative social agenda, including blocking Ecuador’s growing movement to decriminalize abortion. Economically, expect Lasso to push for a market-oriented overhaul of Ecuador’s stagnant economy. Privatization, labor and free-trade reform, advocated for by Lasso across his three previous campaigns, will likely meet significant resistance in Ecuador’s National Assembly where CREO lost seats and leftist parties will resist market liberalization.

Lasso’s victory represents a turning point both within and beyond Ecuador. Indigenous voters demonstrated that their parties may become serious political contenders, with the success of Ecuador’s Pachakutik foreshadowing possible upcoming election outcomes in countries like Peru. This election also marks a halt of the recent leftist shift in South American politics following presidential elections in Argentina and Bolivia.

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