Sunday, February 17, 2013

Correa to win his last presidential term?

Prensa Libre: EFE
Ecuadorans go to the polls this morning to elect the president, vice president, five members of the Andean Parliament, and 137 members of congress. The president, vice president and members of congress will serve concurrent four-year terms similar to Guatemala rather than the non concurrent terms utilized in El Salvador. Concurrent presidential and legislative elections and terms generally benefit larger parties whereas non concurrent are thought to give some benefit to smaller parties. However, the runoff nature of the presidential election does give voters the incentive to vote sincerely in a first round.

In the presidential elections, incumbent Rafael Correa is expected to win rather easily over his seven competitors. Correa advanced to a second round runoff in 2006 against Alvaro Noboa and emerged victorious with 57% of the vote. After the promulgation of a new constitution, Correa won a first round victory in 2009. Most are expected a similar first round victory in 2013 with perhaps an even wider margin of victory. He has promised to step down in 2017 when term limits kick in.

Irene Caselli at the Christian Science Monitor and Boz at Bloggings by boz chalk up Correa's expected victory to a growing economy, reasonably good security situation, and the use of state spending on various infrastructure projects and on programs to support marginalized sectors of the country.

Freedom House characterizes Ecuador as partly free receiving 3 out of 7 on civil liberties and civil rights. (I am a consultant to Freedom House but generally make more contribution to discussions on Central American countries.) In 2012, Ecuador "received a downward trend arrow due to the government’s intensified campaign against opposition leaders and intimidation of journalists, its excessive use of public resources to influence a national referendum, and the unconstitutional restructuring of the judiciary."

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