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World

Ex-president casts shadow over tight Ecuador election

  • Correa's protege, leftist candidate Andres Arauz is up against right-wing contender Guillermo Lasso in a race that is neck and neck, according to opinion polls.
09 Apr 2021

QUITO: Former Ecuadoran president Rafael Correa is not on the ballot in his country's close presidential runoff on Sunday, yet remains a key figure in the election despite living in exile in Belgium.

Correa's protege, leftist candidate Andres Arauz is up against right-wing contender Guillermo Lasso in a race that is neck and neck, according to opinion polls.

That said, the contest is not so much about Arauz versus Lasso but rather about "Correism versus anti-Correism," political scientist Esteban Nicholls of Simon Bolivar University told AFP.

Arauz won the first-round vote in February with 32.72 percent, more than 12 percentage points higher than Lasso, but not enough to win outright and avoid a runoff.

The last poll by Market predicted a "technical draw" Sunday with 36-year-old Arauz garnering 50 percent and Lasso, age 65, getting 49 percent.

The election is "totally uncertain," Market director Blasco Penaherrera told AFP, adding that "this chapter isn't closed."

However, Penaherrera said that former banker Lasso's "growth" is "vastly superior" to that of economist Arauz.