Last Sunday, Ecuador’s elections were held, with the voting process beginning at 07:00 am. 13 million Ecuadorians debated between the duty of voting and the fear due to coronavirus. Being in the midst of a pandemic, the scenario was complex. Besides, in these elections, we had the largest presidential ballot in our history.
Ecuador is the sixth Latin American country to have had an electoral process during the pandemic. Before, other countries that celebrated elections included Bolivia, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay, and Venezuela. These countries carried out their elections notwithstanding the fear that the concentration of people might cause an increase in coronavirus contagion.
By midnight, the results of the elections in Ecuador were not yet clear. The candidate Andrés Arauz was going to be in the second round, but it is necessary to know who his contender will be. Either Yaku Pérez or Guillermo Lasso will run against him on April 11, there is a narrow margin between both of them. Currently, it´s been a week after the elections and the electoral panorama is still blurry.
After complaints of alleged electoral “fraud” by the candidate Yaku Pérez, the Ecuadorian National Electoral Council decided to review 100 per cent of the election results in the province of Guayas, and 50 per cent in another 16 provinces. An instructions manual will be prepared for the immediate operationalization of the agreement, there will be citizen oversight, the review will be broadcast live on official CNE channels continuously, and afterwards, there will be a proclamation of results.
Despite this uncertainty, what is evident is that whoever wins will not be able to govern without agreements and consensus. With the current political scenario filled with fragmentation and frustration (regardless of who goes to the second electoral round), consensus will be required. Otherwise, for the next President reaching agreements will be unfeasible.
To strengthen the democratic state, our new President will have to perform outstanding political negotiations. This should be positively perceived by the population since agreements between political parties are necessary for governance.
Ecuador is going through difficult times by facing distinct threats that include economic, health, and political aspects. Despite this, let’s hope that democracy prevails in the country. Otherwise, new risks could appear.