By James Blears
Rising unemployment, corruption scandals and the scourge of Covid 19, which has infected more than quarter of a million and killed more than ten thousand Ecuadorians, is the bleak challenge, scenario and landscape, which faces the next President of the country.
According to pollsters, no one will gain the necessary forty percent of the vote and ten percent lead in round one, so it`s on to the second round on April 11th, involving alliances, defections and political deals.
The big two slugging it out, are thirty five year old Andres Arauz of the Democratic Center Party, and sixty five year old Guillermo Lasso, the Candidate of the Creating Opportunities Party, which he himself created in 2013.
Andres is the former Knowledge and Human Talent Minister, ex Central Bank Director and wizz kid protogee of former President Rafael Correra, who`s in exile in Belgium, after being convicted of campaign finance law offenses, during his era. Something which he denies. Andres aims to increase taxes on trans national companies, reinstate generous public spending, boost the Central Bank and provide one thousand dollars to one million families to stave off dire economic hardship wrought by Covid.
It`s Guillermo`s third try for the biggest job. A former banker successful businessman and Minister of Economy, he vows an anti corruption commission, tax cuts and one million new jobs created by international investment, particularly concerning petroleum and mining.
Thirteen million people are registered to vote, and it`s mandatory. But with the pandemic, appreciably less will make it to the polling booths. The winner will be mindful to heed the drastically altering opinion polls of outgoing one term President Lenin Moreno, who started on the crest of a wave and ended up down deep... in the wild blue yonder.