Ecuador faces run-off presidential election amid crime wave
The new run-off phase of the presidential election just began only a few days after anti-corruption crusader and former presidential candidate Fernando Villavicenio was assassinated in the capital, Quito
October 15, 2023 1:53pm
Updated: October 16, 2023 9:18am
Voters in Ecuador are facing a run-off of a presidential election amid a crime wave that has haunted the South American country.
The new run-off phase of the presidential election just began only a few days after anti-corruption crusader and former presidential candidate Fernando Villavicenio was assassinated in the capital, Quito.
Ecuadorean law enforcement officials have charged seven suspects with his murder, but those suspects were killed in jail.
As crime continues to overshadow the region, voters remain shaken about potential violence.
The current top two contenders in the presidential run off are between Luisa González of the left-wing Citizen Revolution Movement and centrist Daniel Noboa of the National Democratic Action coalition.
Luisa González, an attorney who won 34% of the votes in the first phase has the support of former president Rafael Correa.
Her opponent, Daniel Noboa, who came second in the first round with 23% of the vote, and has since overtaken González, according to recent polls.
President Correa continues to have significant political influence in Ecuador, even though he has vocalized his support from afar in Belgium.
The former president moved to Western Europe after stepped down from his 10-year term in office in 2017.
Correa was considered a controversial leader who was charged with breaking campaign finance laws in 2020 and subsequently sentenced to 10 years in prison in absentia.
He has endorsed González, and has vowed to serve as her primary adviser if she wins.
Both Noboa and González have tried to calm voters about the country's escalating violent crime rate and the rise of gangs.
Noboa has recommended relocating some of the worst criminals to floating prison ships off the country’s coast as a way to permanently divide the prison gangs which have killed many inside the correction system.
He also wants to fortify security at Ecuador's ports and borders in an effort to halt drug-trafficking.
Noboa has also recommended installing scanners at airports and ports to help law enforcement officials coordinate their efforts to halt cocaine shipments.
Ecuador faces an uphill battle since it is lodged between Peru and Colombia, the two highest volume producers of cocaine in the world.
González could soon be Ecuador's first woman president, although her unwavering pro-life stance may not help her with the female vote as much as she is hoping.
Since the election is a transitory election with the current president, Guillermo Lasso, stepping down voluntarily, the winning candidate will only have 17 months in office until the next presidential election.
The current presidential election was scheduled early after Lasso gave up his presidency as a way to invoke special measures to secure the country amid the crime wave.