By James Blears
Former banker Guillermo Lasso scraped into the second round of the Presidential election runoff, barely ahead of Indigenous Candidate Yaku Perez and well behind 36 year old leftist economist Andres Arauz, who`s a protogee of former President Rafael Correra, now in exile in Belgium, having been sentenced to eight years jail in his absence on corruption charges, which he denies.
Lasso aged 65 got 52.51 percent of the vote, while Araruz who gained 47.40 percent, conceded and congratulated him. Perez, who`d unsuccessfully demanded a recount of February 7th`s round one, steadfastly refused to endorse either, calling on his supporters to spoil their ballots. Accordingly, 1.6 million votes are scuppered which is about 16 percent of the overall vote. In his victory speech Lasso said: "We will build a more just country, with more prosperity for everyone. This is a victory for the Ecuadorian people. No one will prevent the course of history."
Outgoing President Lenin Moreno, had decided not to run for re-election. Falling oil prices and the ravages of the pandemic have bit deep into the economy. More than 300,000 cases of covid, 17,000 deaths, but only one percent of the population innoculated so far, while half a million people are unemployed. A daunting challenge for Lasso, who`ll be inaugurated on May 24th. A veteran who has to come up with more than just free market economy policies, in order to pull Ecuador out of a deep slump, and reduce a whopping national debt.