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General elections to be held today in Ecuador


General elections to be held today in Ecuador

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The first round of Ecuador’s presidential and National Assembly elections will be held today.

Today’s elections were called because President Lenín Moreno has opted not to seek reelection. Though 16 candidates are vying for the presidency, this election is viewed as a showdown between Andrés Arauz of the social democratic La Unión por la Esperanza (UNES) coalition and Guillermo Lasso of the centre-right Creating Opportunities (CREO) party. Current polls indicate Arauz holds a clear lead with 37% to Lasso 24%, and Arauz is likely to win the presidency.

If elected, expect Arauz to reinstate many of the social policies suspended by Moreno in 2017. He will likely increase spending on social programs and end the IMF-backed austerity plan currently in place. Austerity measures were introduced by Moreno in 2019 to combat rising national debt but failed to solve the problem and created significant public backlash, culminating in large-scale protests in 2019. Arauz’s message of ending austerity measures and reinstating social policies has resonated with many blue-collar and working-class Ecuadorians who feel they were ignored under Moreno’s rule and were especially hard-hit by the economic downturn that was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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