The February electoral process: a critical political thermometer

ECUADOR - Report 20 Jan 2023 by Magdalena Barreiro

The local government elections that will take place on February 5 are far from just another electoral process. They are extremely important to assess if the Correistas have regained strength, if CONAIE and Pachakutik have extended their influence to the national level, and if the Social Christians will maintain their share of power with the election of Cynthia Viteri as mayor of Guayaquil.

Members of the controversial Citizenship Participation Council will also be elected. Sadly, very few know much about the candidates, who, if elected, will have significant power to shape the future of Ecuador.

Finally, not only will the government will play its major card in the game of political initiatives with the referendum, which will take place on the same day, but the country’s interests are also at stake. The recent scandal awakened by La Posta, an online paper that published information on an alleged corruption scheme at the highest levels of the public electricity companies, linking President Lasso and his brother-in-law at the top, came suspiciously at the worst time, given what is at risk next month.

However, as we have mentioned before, President Lasso manages to perform well abroad while struggling domestically. His participation in the meetings of Davos was successful and had its own glow with the announcement of the new trade agreement with Costa Rica and the meeting with USAID Chief Samantha Power to pursue cooperation from the agency in programs to reduce migration and poverty.

Also at Davos Lasso proposed Ecuador as the venue for the diplomatic conference aiming at a new global agreement on clean energy that will take place in 2025. Thus, together with the initiative by Ecuador to fight climate change presented in 2021 at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, Lasso is positioning Ecuador as a regional leader in the global environmental arena.

Last December, Ecuador successfully closed the first agreement with the IMF to be fully completed in 20 years. The view of the Fund on Ecuador is positive, recognizing the efforts of the country in re-establishing fiscal stability—proof of which is a probable significant surplus of the NFPS—improving public transparency in information and public purchases, and increasing welfare coverage for the most vulnerable since 2021. But amidst upside risks such as high oil prices and low inflation, the IMF points out new social protests and insecurity as two potential downside risks.

Therefore, the coming elections and the referendum will be a critical thermometer to assess not only the next two years of the current government, but also the medium-term future of Ecuador.

Now read on...

Register to sample a report