Who are the Presidential Candidates For Ecuador’s Early Elections?
Luisa González and Andrés Arauz of the left-wing Citizens’ Revolution Movement party, accepted their candidacies at the office of the National Electoral Council on June 13. (Photo: Youth Citizens’ Revolution/Twitter)
Ecuador is preparing to hold early general elections after conservative president Guillermo Lasso dissolved the opposition-dominated National Assembly last month and brought forward the vote scheduled for 2025.
Lasso decreed the dissolution of the country’s unicameral parliament using a never-before-tested constitutional clause known as “cross-death” on May 17, a day after legislators began an impeachment hearing against him. Lasso stood accused of the crime of embezzlement of public funds for renewing a contract between the state-owned oil transport company and a private tanker company that represented a loss for the state, accusations the incumbent president had denied.
Before the impeachment proceedings began in the congress, Lasso had warned that he would dissolve the parliament and force early general elections. In disbanding the assembly, he made use of the first option available to him under the constitution and successfully avoided the possibility of being investigated and removed from office. Nevertheless, he plunged the country into an unprecedented political crisis.
The dissolution of parliament prompted early presidential and legislative elections, and obligated the National Electoral Council (CNE) to organize these extraordinary elections in a maximum period of 90 days, a process that normally takes six months.
On May 24, the CNE shared a compressed electoral calendar and announced that the elections would be held on August 20. The 13.5 million Ecuadorians who are eligible to vote will go to the polls to elect the country’s next president, vice-president and 137 legislators, who will complete the current presidential and legislative term that ends in May 2025.
According to the schedule, the campaign time will only be seven days, from August 8 to 17. The final results will be announced on September 23 and the new authorities will take office on October 26. In the case of presidential elections, if no candidate manages to win outright, a run-off vote will be held on October 15, and the new head of state will assume power on November 30.
On June 2, Lasso announced that he would not seek re-election. On June 13, the registration phase ended with the enrollment of eight presidential tickets. The tickets are not yet confirmed as the CNE will now be reviewing the applicants and their political parties to make sure that they have met the requirements and that there are no objections.
Citizens’ Revolution: Luisa González and Andrés Arauz
Lawyer and former labor and tourism minister Luisa González is the only woman candidate running for the presidency of Ecuador. Her running mate is economist and former presidential candidate Andrés Arauz. The duo is running for the left-wing Citizens’ Revolution Movement, founded by former president Rafael Correa (2007-2017).
González, 46, was a legislator of the Union for Hope (UNES) alliance from 2021 until the dissolution of the National Assembly by Lasso. González has been serving the country since 2008, and held various public positions during Correa’s 10-year tenure.
Her running mate, Arauz, 37, won in the first round of the 2021 presidential elections, but lost to Lasso in the second round. Arauz also held different positions during the Correa government.
The duo has very strong prospects of winning the upcoming elections. Rafael Correa and the Citizens’ Revolution Movement have strong popular support in the country, especially given the recent victories scored in local elections in February. During their 10-year mandate, Ecuador’s economy thrived and poverty and extreme poverty were reduced by over 35%.
National Democratic Action: Daniel Noboa and Verónica Abad
Businessman and former legislator Daniel Noboa and businesswoman Verónica Abad were the first to register with the CNE. Noboa and Abad are sponsored by the right-wing National Democratic Action Alliance (ADN), made up of the People, Equality and Democracy Movement (PID), and the Green, Ethical, Revolutionary and Democratic Movement (MOVER) parties.
35-year-old Noboa is the son of one of the richest businessmen in Ecuador Álvaro Noboa. Álvaro himself also attempted to run for president six different times but was never won. Daniel Noboa served as president of the Economic Development Commission in the National Assembly dissolved by Lasso. His running mate, Abad, 46, previously ran for the mayor of Cuenca for the AMIGO movement.
AMIGO: Bolívar Armijos and Linda Romero
Lawyer Bolívar Armijos and television presenter Linda Romero are sponsored by the center-right Independent Mobilizing Action Generating Opportunities (AMIGO) movement party.
47-year-old Armijos was president of the National Council of Parochial Governments of Ecuador (CONAGPORE). He was a member of Correísmo. In the 2021 general elections, he contested for the National Assembly for the left-wing Union for Hope alliance. His running mate, Romero, is also the president of Fundación Mujeres Reales, a motivational coaching platform for women.
Build Ecuador: Fernando Villavicencio and Andrea González
Journalist and former legislator Fernando Villavicencio and environmental engineer Andrea González were next to enroll in the race. They are standing in the elections with the support of the right-wing Build Ecuador Movement.
Villavicencio, 59, served as the president of the Oversight and Political Control Commission of the now dissolved National Assembly. His running mate, González, 36, was a candidate for the National Assembly for the Honesty alliance in the last elections.
Actuemos: Otto Sonnenholzner and Erika Paredes
Former vice president Otto Sonnenholzner and environmentalist Erika Paredes registered themselves next as a presidential ticket. The duo is running for the center-right Actuemos alliance, formed by the Avanza and Suma parties.
Sonnenholzner, 40, is an economist and was the vice-president of Ecuador between December 2018 and July 2020 in the government of Lenín Moreno. He left office in the midst of a health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time, it was speculated that he would run for presidency in the 2021 elections, but in the end he did not.
His running mate, Paredes, has worked for more than 10 years in the United Nations, managing mechanisms that allow financing, designing and implementing health, education, environment and infrastructure projects.
Country Without Fear: Jan Topic and Diana Jácome
Businessman Jan Topic and lawyer and journalist Diana Jácome are also contesting for the right-wing Country Without Fear alliance, made up of the Social Christian Party (PSC), the Patriotic Society party and the Democratic Center party.
40-year-old Topic is a businessman, a soldier in the French Foreign Legion and a veteran of wars in the Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, Djibouti and Syria. He most recently participated in the Ukraine-Russia conflict and fought against Russian troops. His major campaign focus is to fight the war against drug trafficking in the country.
His running mate, Jácome, 40, is recognized for having been a television presenter on channels managed by the State since the time of Correísmo.
Claro Que Se Puede: Yaku Pérez and Nory Pinela
The former mayor of Azuay and former presidential candidate Yaku Pérez is once again trying to become head of state with academic Nory Pinela. This time, he is supported by the center-right Claro Que Se Puede alliance, formed by Popular Unity, Ecuadorian Socialist Party, Yes Democracy and We Are Water parties. He also has won the backing of the PACHAKUTIK Party, the electoral arm of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE).
54-year-old Pérez is an Indigenous environmentalist. Pérez finished third in the 2021 presidential race and was widely criticized for his ardent opposition to the left ticket of Andrés Arauz, his vocal opposition to socialist projects in the region, and simultaneous openness to US interests in the country. His running mate, Pinela, has extensive experience in academic fields.
Challenge Movement: Xavier Hervas and Luz Marina Vega
Former presidential candidate Xavier Hervas and doctor Luz Marina Vega are running for the center-right Challenge Movement party.
Hervas, 50, ran in the 2021 presidential elections with the center-left Democratic Left (ID) party. He reached fourth place in the first round. He served as financial adviser at the economic ministry between 2007 and 2009, and was general director of the Central Bank of Ecuador from 2009 to 2011.
His running mate, Marina Vega, in 2019 received the title “Doctor Honoris Causa in Medicine,” awarded by the World Humanistic University, for her work in the healthcare sector.
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