On Sunday, February 19, voters in Ecuador will go to the polls to elect a new president and vote for members of the National Assembly. Here is what you need to know about the electoral process and the candidates:

Election 2017

Ecuador is a multiparty democratic country located in northwestern South America. The Alianza PAIS party currently controls a majority of the National Assembly and the presidency.

In Ecuador, voting is compulsory for citizens 18 years and older. The penalty for not voting is a $37.50 fine. Voter turnout has risen from its nadir of 47% in 1998 to more than 80% in 2013.

The president is elected by popular vote. To be elected on the first round, a candidate must either 1) receive more than 50% of the valid votes or 2) receive more than 40% of the valid vote and at least 10% of the total valid votes more than the runner-up. Invalid votes are a significant issue in Ecuador: in 2013, 22% of votes were considered invalid.

While President Correa was able to win in the first round with a majority of the popular vote both in 2009 and 2013, recent polling suggests that there will be a run-off vote between two of the three leading candidates: Lenín Moreno, Guillermo Lasso, and Cynthia Viteri.

Lenín Moreno

Moreno was the Vice President from 2007 to 2013 and is the candidate for President Correa’s party, Alianza País. Moreno’s platform is a continuation and expansion of many of the leftist policies of the Correa administration, including increasing old age pensions, improving transportation infrastructure, and increased spending on higher education.

His running mate, Jorge Glas, is the current Vice President. Although he has vehemently denied the allegations, Glas was accused of corruption by the CREO-SUMA presidential candidate, Guillermo Lasso.

Guillermo Lasso

Lasso was head of the Banco de Guayaquil, the second largest bank in Ecuador. He was the presidential candidate for the center-right CREO party in 2012 and received 22% of the popular vote. This time, he is the candidate of the CREO-SUMA alliance.

He is a critic of Correa’s leftist economic policies. He is a proponent private industry and the free market. The key feature of Lasso’s platform is his proposal to eliminate 14 taxesScreenshot (93).png

Cynthia Viteri

Viteri is a former member of the National Assembly and the candidate for the center-right Partido Social Cristiano. Her platform includes reducing production costs, decentralization of power, and promoting the export sector. Recent polls put her close but behind Lasso in the popular vote.

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