GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador — The recent special presidential election in Ecuador has seen the emergence of a leftist candidate supported by the country's fugitive ex-president. The early results indicate that this candidate may face a runoff with the son of a prominent banana tycoon.
Despite the unprecedented violence that marred the electoral process and tragically claimed the life of a presidential candidate during a campaign rally just two weeks prior, Ecuadorians turned out to cast their votes.
González has expressed her intention to have former President Rafael Correa as her advisor if she were to win. Despite being found guilty of corruption in 2020 and sentenced to eight years in prison in absentia, Correa remains a significant force in Ecuadorian politics. Since 2017, he has been residing in his wife's native Belgium.
Fernando Villavicencio, a journalist-turned-presidential candidate, was one of Correa's most vocal critics. Tragically, he was killed on Aug. 9 in Quito, the country's capital. One of Villavicencio's investigations played a pivotal role in the legal proceedings that led to Correa's conviction.
With slightly over half of the votes counted, the National Electoral Council's results currently place González in the lead with approximately 33% of support, while Noboa garners around 24%. To secure an outright victory, a candidate must obtain at least 50% of the vote or have a 40% share with a 10-point lead over their closest rival.
Christian Zurita, although his name did not appear on the ballot, currently sits in third place. He stepped in as a replacement for Villavicencio after the tragic incident. The killing of Villavicencio has not only left a void in Ecuador's political landscape but has also highlighted the growing concerns about the alarming levels of violence in a country that was once considered peaceful until recent years.
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