Lasso rebounds to become Ecuador's new president

Banker Guillermo Lasso wins presidential election in run-off vote
Ecuadorian banker Guillermo Lasso and his wife Maria de Lourdes Alcivar react after Lasso wins the presidential run-off, in Guayaquil, Ecuador 11 April 2021.

REUTERS/MARIA FERNANDA LANDIN  -   Ecuadorian banker Guillermo Lasso and his wife Maria de Lourdes Alcivar react after Lasso wins the presidential run-off, in Guayaquil, Ecuador 11 April 2021

Ecuadorians celebrated the second round of the presidential elections, at a time complicated by the COVID-19 situation. Guillermo Lasso was able to win a comeback in an election he had practically lost three months ago. The centre-right candidate obtained 52.48% of the votes counted, 32 points more than his result in the first round, which was 20%, defeating the left-wing candidate Andrés Arauz, who obtained 47.52% of the votes in the second round. Let's remember that Guillermo Lasso was a presidential candidate in 2013 and 2017, where he was the loser in the second round against the current president Lenin Moreno. 

With 98% of the votes counted, the National Electoral Council announced the irreversible results. Andrés Arauz, who was favourite to win the presidency, acknowledged defeat and sent a message to his supporters: "I congratulate him on his electoral triumph today and I will show him our democratic convictions". Arauz wanted to recover the socialist model implemented by Rafael Correa. The difference in votes between the two candidates was approximately 420,000. “This is an electoral setback, but in no way is it a political or moral defeat because our project is for life,” he said. Arauz represents the young generation of Correaism in Ecuador, the political disqualification of Rafael Correa and the trial against him for "bribery" have not allowed former president Correa to compete as Arauz's vice-president. The former president commented on Lasso's victory. "It's not an end but a beginning," said Andrés. "Thank you all for your support. Sincerely, we believed we would win, but our projections were wrong,” Correa tweeted. “Good luck to Guillermo Lasso, his success will be that of Ecuador. I only ask you to stop the lawfare, which destroys lives and families.”

Colegio electoral durante la segunda vuelta de las elecciones presidenciales, en Pujilí, Ecuador 11 de abril de 2021
REUTERS/SANTIAGO ARCOS - Polling station during the second round of the presidential election, in Pujili, Ecuador April 11, 2021

Guillermo Lasso, the new president of Ecuador, is a former banker and two-time presidential candidate. His government plan includes stimulating the economy through foreign investment and seeking to boost oil production in order to bring Ecuador into the most important oil markets, the main product of the South American nation. "I owe God for all the blessings he has bestowed on me during my life. I want to thank the Ecuadorians who have given the country a strong message. Ecuadorians believe in democracy, Ecuadorians believe in freedom," Lasso told supporters in Guayaquil. One of Lasso's most controversial positions is his views on abortion. During the presidential campaign he made it very clear that he will defend his position: "I am speaking to young pregnant women. We will protect them, let them stay in school, let them go to university," said Lasso. 

Andrés Arauz, candidato presidencial de la Alianza Unión por la Esperanza, UNES, habla desde su sede de campaña en Quito, Ecuador, el domingo 11 de abril de 2021
AP/ANGEL DEJESUS - Andres Arauz, presidential candidate for the Union for Hope Alliance, UNES, speaks from his campaign headquarters in Quito, Ecuador, Sunday, April 11, 2021.

Who is Guillermo Lasso? He is the youngest son of 11 siblings and comes from a middle class family. His early career in economics began at the age of 15 when he decided to work at the Guayaquil Stock Exchange, and for more than 20 years he worked at the Banco de Guayaquil, where he was president. Lasso worked for the multinational Coca-Cola and was Minister of Economy in the government of Jamil Mahuad. In 2013 he was a presidential candidate, where he lost against Rafael Correa, and repeated the presidential candidacy in 2017, and lost again against Lenin Moreno by a small margin. During the campaign he promised two million jobs, to update the agricultural sector through the promotion of low-interest loans and lower taxes, in order to generate foreign investment. 

El presidente de Colombia, Iván Duque
REUTERS/LUISA GONZÁLEZ - Colombia's President Ivan Duque

After the final results were in, Lasso began to receive congratulations from all world leaders. One of the first to congratulate him was Colombian President Iván Duque, We congratulate @LassoGuillermo for his election as President of #Ecuador. A few minutes ago we talked and talked about working together for the region; We will continue to strengthen our commercial relations, security and Andean integration for the benefit of our countries". Within the geopolitics of the region, Lasso's victory keeps Ecuador within the centre right, a positioning that will favour relations with Brazil, Colombia and the continued recognition of Juan Guaidó as interim president of Venezuela.

Latin America Coordinator: José Antonio Sierra.