• By The Financial District

ECUADOR FACES TOUGH CHOICE AS PREXY BETS BATTLE IN 2ND RUN-OFF

Amid the coronavirus pandemic and a severe economic crisis, Ecuadorians took to the polls on Sunday to elect a new president.

In the second round of the presidential election, conservative banker Guillermo Lasso was facing left-wing candidate Andres Arauz. In the latest polls, both candidates were effectively tied at around 50 percent of the vote, Denis Duettmann reported for Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa).


The South American country is in a deep economic crisis due to the drop in oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic. The previous president, Lenin Moreno, had recently seen his popularity plummet and did not stand for re-election.


"On Monday we will have a newly elected president," Vice President Maria Alejandra Munoz said on Sunday, noting the extraordinary circumstances for a vote - "in the middle of a pandemic and a vaccination campaign." The first results are expected late on Sunday.


Arauz is seen as the protege of Rafael Correa, a former president. If he wins the election, he is likely to continue Correa's policy of "21st-century socialism," increase subsidies and oppose the austerity program demanded by the International Monetary Fund (IMF.) Lasso, on the other hand, stands for a liberal economic program.


He wants to create jobs and attract foreign investors. The 65-year-old is a member of the ultra-conservative Opus Dei association and is strictly against same-sex marriage and abortion.



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