Daniel Noboa wins Ecuador presidential elections

2023 10 16 ECUADOR ELECTION scaled
Ecuadorian presidential candidate Daniel Noboa speaks to the press following his win in the presidential election, in Santa Elena, Ecuador October 15, 2023. REUTERS/Santiago Arcos

Daniel Noboa is going to become Ecuador’s next president following his victory over the socialist candidate, Luisa Gonzalez.

The president-elect said, in a meeting with his supporters, that “Starting tomorrow, I will assume the role of your new president. Tomorrow, we start work for this new Ecuador, we start working to rebuild a country seriously battered by violence, by corruption and by hate.”

Before entering into politics, Noboa had worked within his family’s vast banana business, amassing a considerable fortune. His surprising qualification for the runoff election makes him Ecuador’s youngest-ever president. During his campaign, he pledged to revitalize Ecuador’s struggling economy, stimulate job growth, and proposed the innovative concept of using prison ships to house inmates.

Noboa’s opponent, socialist Luisa Gonzalez, enjoyed the support of former President Rafael Correa and would have become Ecuador’s first female president. She campaigned on a platform that aimed to reinstate popular social programmes such as free healthcare and workers’ rights, reminiscent of Correa’s tenure in power, before his departure amid corruption allegations.

With over 99,2% of the ballots counted, Noboa secured more than 51,8 of the vote, while Gonzalez garnered approximately 48,17%.

Luisa Gonzalez acknowledged Noboa’s victory, emphasizing the importance of democracy and urging him to fulfil his promises to students and senior citizens.

Both Noboa and Gonzalez cast their votes while wearing bulletproof vests, highlighting the security concerns in the lead-up to the election, particularly in the aftermath of the tragic murder of another presidential candidate, Fernando Villavicencio, a journalist and anti-corruption activist who had been polling as the second-favorite candidate.

The election was held against a backdrop of increasing violence in Ecuador, attributed largely to rival Mexican and Colombian drug cartels. This violence was a significant concern for many voters as they went to the polls.

Also, Ecuador has experienced conflicts with Indigenous groups opposing mining operations and the development of oil pipelines and wells, despite having enshrined the “rights of nature” in its constitution in 2008. In August, Ecuadoreans voted to reject oil drilling in the Amazon rainforest, a landmark decision celebrated by environmental activists.

Noboa’s presidency will be short-lived, as the current President, Guillermo Lasso, called for a snap election to avert potential impeachment due to alleged embezzlement, which means Noboa will serve for only 16 months.

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