5/5 © Reuters. Ecuador’s presidential candidate, Yaku Pérez, gestures during the presidential election in Quito 2/5
By Alexandra Valencia and Brian Ellsworth QUITO (Reuters) – Ecuadorian economist Andrés Arauz prepared on Monday to campaign for a second round of the presidential election as authorities continued to count votes to determine whether he would face a conservative banker or an activist. environmental. The runner-up race between pro-market candidate Guillermo Lasso and indigenous anti-mining leader Yaku Pérez was too close to call, with Pérez leading by less than a percentage point and manual counts appear likely. Pérez’s solid performance marks the best performance of an indigenous presidential candidate and opens a career that for months had been defined by ideological divisions between the free market on the one hand and socialist generosity on the other. Figures from the electoral council on Monday morning showed that with 81.25% of the votes counted, Arauz had 32.33% of the votes compared to 19.80% for Pérez and 19.33% for Lasso. Pérez and his supporters began a vigil Sunday night outside a Quito hotel where electoral authorities counted votes, vowing to prevent electoral fraud from getting in the way of the April 11 runoff. Lasso, at a celebratory rally in his hometown of Guayaquil, promised that a full review of the ballot box statements would show he would reach the second round. Either candidate could request manual counts. Arauz, 36, a protégé of former President Rafael Correa, promised to make direct cash payments to between 1,000 and 1 million families upon taking office, and says he will reject the terms of a $ 6.5 billion IMF financing package. . Lasso has promised to stimulate the economy with more foreign investment and tax cuts. Pérez’s activism has focused on protecting rivers from mining and has vowed to balance the country’s fiscal accounts by recovering funds stolen under previous governments. He also surprised the little-known businessman, Xavier Hervas, a center-left candidate who won 16% of the vote despite never having run for office. President Lenin Moreno, a former Correa ally who was elected in 2017, did not seek a second term. Financial markets are vigilant and Arauz’s rhetoric has already sparked a massive sell off of bonds. He has said that he will continue to pay the country’s debts, but has said that social investment will take priority and has also called for an investigation into last year’s $ 17.4 billion bond restructuring. Last month, Ecuadorian bonds were the worst performer on JPMorgan’s (NYSE 🙂 EMBI Global Diversified Index, with a total return of -15%.