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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

La Segunda Vuelta - Goin' to the Polls 2.0

The whole democratic process here has been a real eye opener. I, at least logically, understand that there are different ways of electing a government - the US election proved that, but to see it in action is a whole different reality.

For a bit of a recap, in Ecuador the incoming president needs to win 50% of the popular vote, or if that is not achieved, the candidate has to receive 40% of the popular vote with an equal or greater than 10% margin than the second place candidate. This is written in the law and is (to all appearances) sacred. The two leading parties, after the first round of voting, came in at 39.3% and the following candidate had 28.1% (give or take). So the required margin was achieved, but not the 40% requirement. A month later the country went back to the polls to decide between the two. 
Lenin Moreno - Movemiento Alianza Pais
It was very close. The good news is that the vote was only between the two presidential hopefuls and their vice presidents - each team being awarded one vote per ballot. The further good news is that the winner only needs one vote more than the loser; there are no substantial margins to be achieved.
Guilermo Lasso - La Alianza Creo - Suma
It's been a bit ugly. The current party has held office for 10 years. This fact leads a lot of people to accuse voter fraud. The current president is VERY thin skinned and, because of that, he likes to try and control the media to a certain extent. He isn't running this time, but his hand picked successor is. The challenger is a gentleman who was involved with the government when Ecuador's economy took a dive and they had to switch to the US dollar to try and stabilize things. 

Currently, with almost all the votes counted the incumbent party seems ready to take power again. (They're sitting at 51.17% while the opposition is at 48.83%. In truth, the current party already has the majority in the assembly, so whoever wins the presidency is a bit moot.) Here's the thing...there are people out there that truly believe that the current administration is only in power due to voter fraud...and they've done it again, this time  round. The challenger isn't making things better by demanding verification, accusing the existing party outright of fraud and corruption. (It's all very USA style politics, or so it seems to me.) 

In honesty, I'm trying to get my head around it, because Latin American countries have really had their challenges with legitimate governments. There are people who live here who have seen rampant bribery affect the outcomes of "democratic" elections, so they have a right to be doubtful, or so I would guess. I just can't fathom it. Everything looked above board at the polling stations, the governing body that counts the ballots had information out rapidly (relatively speaking) and the percentages seem fairly consistent. It was always going to be a close race.

I'd like to think that the process has been legitimate, but I don't have the history here that lifelong Ecuadorians have, so how can I say? I guess the proof is in the pudding and the next year or two will show whether the winning candidate was in earnest or not.

Que viva la democracia!

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