Scion of Banana Magnate Leads in Ecuador’s Presidential Runoff With Over Half of Votes Tallied

by Gabriel Martinez
Ecuadorian presidential runoff

In the preliminary outcomes of Ecuador’s presidential runoff election held on Sunday, a youthful scion of a prominent banana business, Daniel Noboa, emerged as the frontrunner.

Data released by the National Electoral Council indicated that Noboa garnered 52.4% of the votes, with approximately 61% of ballots counted. His opponent, leftist lawyer Luisa González, trailed with 47.6% of the votes. The election was conducted amid an unusually volatile climate, characterized by street violence and turmoil within the prison system.

Security is a universal concern for Ecuadorians as they seek new leadership. Both Noboa and González have limited experience in governance and face daunting challenges ahead.

The electoral context is marred by escalating drug-related violence that commenced around three years ago and escalated sharply in August when a presidential candidate was publicly assassinated. Citizens have become increasingly cautious, frequently checking their surroundings and minimizing time spent outside their homes. Such concerns have led Noboa to incorporate a bulletproof vest into his daily attire.

The election process was carried out without significant disruptions. Diana Atamint, the president of the National Electoral Council, credited an “inter-institutional collaboration between the National Police and armed forces” for maintaining a safe voting environment. “Ecuador has triumphed, democracy has triumphed,” Atamint declared.

The victorious candidate will serve a truncated term lasting only until May 2025, completing the remainder of President Guillermo Lasso’s tenure. Lasso, a conservative former banker, resigned earlier after dissolving the National Assembly amid impeachment proceedings against him for alleged contractual irregularities involving a state-owned enterprise.

Violent deaths have surged under Lasso’s administration, reaching an unprecedented 4,600 in 2022, more than twice the total in the previous year. By the first half of 2023, 3,568 violent deaths had been reported by the National Police. This surge is correlated with the cocaine trade, as Mexican, Colombian, and Balkan cartels have established operations in Ecuador, often in collaboration with local criminal organizations.

Voting in Ecuador is compulsory for citizens between 18 and 64 years of age. Non-compliance attracts a fine of approximately $45. The polls closed late afternoon, with results anticipated by Sunday evening.

Public opinion was skeptical. Julio Ricaurte, a 59-year-old engineer, expressed reservations near a polling station in northern Quito. “Firstly, the president’s term will be too short to effect real change; secondly, our National Assembly often hinders governance,” he remarked.

Both Noboa and González had previously served brief terms as lawmakers and emerged as finalists from a pool of eight candidates in the first round of voting on August 22. Noboa, 35, initiated his political career in 2021 after achieving a seat in the National Assembly and heading its Economic Development Commission. González, 45, held various roles under the decade-long presidency of her mentor, Rafael Correa.

Noboa cast his vote in Olón, a central Pacific coastal town, under heavy security detail. “The prevailing trend is irreversible, and today marks the beginning of a new Ecuador,” he stated confidently.

González, after casting her vote in Canuto, also donned a bulletproof vest. “We have complete faith that Ecuador is on the brink of a transformative era,” she asserted.

Authorities received two reports of potential explosive devices near Quito but determined them to be false alarms. National Police Commander General César Zapata revealed that 174 individuals were arrested for violating an Election Day alcohol ban.

Rosa Amaguaña, a 62-year-old vendor, expressed hopes for a safer country under new leadership. “Even a small improvement would make a difference,” she said.

The report is filed from Caracas, Venezuela, by Garcia Cano.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Ecuadorian presidential runoff

What is the preliminary result of the Ecuadorian presidential runoff election?

Daniel Noboa, a young heir to a prominent banana business, leads with 52.4% of the votes, according to early returns. About 61% of the ballots have been counted, and his opponent, leftist attorney Luisa González, trails with 47.6%.

Who are the candidates with notable leads?

The two candidates who advanced to the runoff election are Daniel Noboa and Luisa González. Noboa is a 35-year-old heir to a banana empire and a relatively new politician. González, 45, is a leftist lawyer and has held various government positions under former President Rafael Correa.

What are the main issues affecting this election?

The primary concern for Ecuadorians is the increasing rate of violence and insecurity. Both candidates have limited experience in governance, and the public is keenly interested in how they plan to address these issues.

How long will the elected president serve?

The president elected in this runoff will serve a truncated term that lasts only until May 2025. This is the remaining period of President Guillermo Lasso’s tenure, who resigned earlier this year.

What were the safety measures taken during the election?

According to Diana Atamint, the president of the National Electoral Council, inter-institutional collaboration between the National Police and armed forces ensured that the voting process was carried out safely.

Was there any voter skepticism expressed during the election?

Yes, some citizens like Julio Ricaurte, a 59-year-old engineer, expressed reservations about the effectiveness of the new president due to the National Assembly’s tendency to obstruct governance and the limited timeframe the new president will have to enact changes.

What are the penalties for not voting in Ecuador?

Voting is mandatory in Ecuador for people between the ages of 18 and 64. Those who do not comply face a fine of approximately $45.

Have there been any incidents of violence or disruptions during the election?

No major incidents of violence were reported during the election. However, authorities investigated two reports of potential explosive devices near Quito but determined them to be false alarms.

How has violence escalated recently in Ecuador?

Under President Guillermo Lasso’s administration, violent deaths soared, reaching 4,600 in 2022, more than double the total in the previous year. By the first half of 2023, 3,568 violent deaths had been reported.

Who reported this news?

The report was filed from Caracas, Venezuela, by a journalist named Garcia Cano.

More about Ecuadorian presidential runoff

  • Ecuador Presidential Election: An Overview
  • Profile of Daniel Noboa
  • Profile of Luisa González
  • The Current State of Violence in Ecuador
  • Tenure and Resignation of President Guillermo Lasso
  • Ecuador’s National Electoral Council Official Results
  • Mandatory Voting Laws in Ecuador
  • Recent Drug-related Violence in Ecuador
  • Role of the National Assembly in Ecuador’s Governance

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TimL October 16, 2023 - 12:40 am

Is it just me or is 15 months too short for any prez to make a real difference. just sayin.

RickyJ October 16, 2023 - 12:57 am

Drug cartels have roots in Ecuador now? that’s scary stuff man, hope the next president can do something about it.

JohnDoe October 16, 2023 - 10:30 am

Wow, Noboa leading? Didn’t see that comin. He’s just 35 and already in a presidential race, crazy times!

ElaineP October 16, 2023 - 3:38 pm

Mandatory voting and a $45 fine? Wish we had that here to make ppl take elections seriously.

MarkZ October 16, 2023 - 4:52 pm

Lasso’s not running this time? He sure had a controversial run, didn’t he.interesting to see how it plays out now.

AmyW October 16, 2023 - 8:58 pm

Who is this Luisa González? Seems like she came out of nowhere. gotta read up on her.

NinaQ October 16, 2023 - 9:14 pm

Can’t believe how much violence has spiked recently. The next prez has a lot of work to do, no doubt.

SaraMills October 16, 2023 - 10:19 pm

So the main issue is safety, huh? Wonder how they’re gonna handle that with limited governing experience. Good luck to them.


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