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Ecuador considers a return to socialism during the presidency


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Ecuadorian presidential candidate Andres Arauz ends campaign rally in Quito


QUITO (Reuters) – Ecuadorians will vote in Sunday’s presidential vote to decide whether to uphold pro-market policies for the past four years or return to the socialism of the decade before the Andean country seeks to revive its stagnant economy.

Left-wing economist Andres Arauz won the first round of the elections in February, gaining almost 33% of the vote, thanks to promises of generous cash distribution and the resumption of policies. His socialist mentor, former President Rafael Correa.

Arauz’s rival, banker and third presidential candidate Guillermo Lasso, are promising job creation through foreign investment and financial support for the agricultural sector. Lasso only won 20% of the vote in the first round.

Indigenous activist Yaku Perez, who almost lost to Lasso for a place in the flow, is urging supporters to spoil their votes in protest against what he calls election fraud in the first round.

The vote will revolve around about 15% of voters are still undecided, said Francis Romero, director of Click Report polls, said the number is unusually high.

Romero said: “(Undecided) sees that there are no options that are likely to get the country out of the economic and health crisis.

The oil-exporting nation’s economy was inherently weak due to low crude prices when the coronavirus broke out. The pandemic has pushed one third of the population into poverty and left half a million unemployed.

President Lenin Moreno, who did not run for re-election, imposed painful austerity measures as part of a $ 6.5 billion funding deal with the International Monetary Fund, but was unable to launch the economy. practice.

The electoral commission is expected to report the results on Sunday night. The new president will take office on May 24.

Arauz, 36, has offered to hand over $ 1,000 to a million families as soon as he took office, as well as providing benefits for young people like free internet access.

His plans are being closely watched by foreign investors holding Ecuadorian bonds, some of which have expressed concerns about massive spending plans in the face of the government’s weak financial position. .

Lasso tried to soften his conservative image by promising to fight discrimination based on sexual orientation and strengthen animal rights protection.

Both candidates called on supporters to “take into account the ballots” and denounce the irregularities of the polling day and the vote counting process.

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