The left gains power again in Ecuador and paves the way for Correa's return | International
The political map of Ecuador has taken a turn to the left in the municipal elections held last Sunday, which greatly favors the party of the Citizen Revolution of former President Rafael Correa. Although the scrutiny of acts has not yet concluded in the 221 municipalities, the cities and provinces with the largest population already show a trend. In Quito and Guayaquil, both the candidates for mayors and for province prefects of correísmo defeated the movements that are historically consolidated.
In Guayaquil, 31 years of the right ended with the defeat of the Social Christian Party. The businessman and former vice president of the Barcelona Sporting Club, Aquiles Álvarez, defeated Cynthia Viteri, who focused her campaign on delivering gas cylinders and beers with her face that she called The Redalluding to his blonde hair and that he hoped to continue with the succession of mayors of Guayaquil since 1992 when the well-known politician León Febres Cordero took over a disorderly city that was called a "dump" and turned it into the main economic engine of the country. .
The battered Cristinao Social Party, after almost a day of silence, accepted the results through Viteri, who left a message to Álvarez in a video on Instagram: “Take care of Guayaquil as if it were your home and fight with it and for her as if she were God himself.”
The Ecuadorian capital is another deep political problem that has been dragging on since 2015. The favorite candidate to win the elections had already been mayor for two years, was dismissed by the plenary session of the Municipal Council and is being prosecuted for allegedly crime of corruption. With that background, he ran again to the electoral contest. In the end, the Citizen Revolution with Pabel Muñoz, who held various positions in the Correa decade, won the most important mayoralty in the country with a slight margin.
Although the biggest absentees from this electoral process were the ruling party candidates, the great citizen discontent over the government's management played a role in these elections. "We have a government that has not solved the country's problems," analyzes Wendy Reyes, a political consultant. People are disenchanted, where 9 out of 10 people say they do not have confidence in the government, according to the latest data presented in the Corruption Barometer study, carried out by Fundación Ciudadanía y Desarrollo.
"What was discussed in these elections is how to rescue local leadership, in the absence of a national leadership," says Reyes, which was the analysis made by citizens who have not listened to their basic cries in security, economy and health. “They are looking for someone to help them push at least in the cities, if the country is not walking”, he adds.
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In these elections a change or continuity was at stake. "And the people said, change, because they have not solved their problems, and at least in Guayaquil, they were very confident, they did not know how to listen well, that is why there is a punishment vote," says Reyes. The same thing happened to former President Correa in the 2015 midterm elections, with his candidate for mayor of Quito, since then he had not been able to return.
But the winds of change feel like a battle to come. "It's not long now", was the message that was repeated in the speeches of the winning candidates of the Citizen Revolution and of Rafael Correa himself in Twitter. "We became the Citizen Revolution again: we achieved the impossible," wrote a tweet that attached a video where he is seen with several members of his former government team, some self-exiled in Mexico since 2019 and other fugitives from Ecuadorian justice, who left from the country through irregular means, who played the guitar and sang the song "Todo cambia" by Mercedes Sosa.
The advantage achieved in the sectional elections and citizen discontent are factors that seem to be paving the way for a possible return of the former president, on whom two enforceable sentences weigh, and two prison sentences; however, “it is not closed or locked. There are conditions to do so, but it depends on the National and Constitutional Courts”, explains André Benavides, a constitutional lawyer.
The former president has three mechanisms left to return to the country. “That extraordinary appeals for review of his sentence be presented before the National Court of Justice and that these processes be overthrown. That means that there was no crime, ”says the expert about the first of the possibilities.
A second option can be opened "if some protection action was filed on those enforceable sentences for the Constitutional Court to resolve if there has been a violation of due process," he adds. The last alternative is through an amnesty that Congress can grant, but for that they must ignore the fact that it is only for political and non-administrative crimes, like those that Correa has, and they will need 92 votes, that the correísta bench does not even managed to try to remove President Lasso in June 2022.
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