Guillermo Lasso acknowledges defeat in the referendum and correísmo gains ground in Ecuador
(CNN Spanish) — President Guillermo Lasso did not achieve the result he expected in the sectional elections and the referendum held on Sunday in Ecuador. While the National Electoral Council finishes counting the votes, the country’s political forces begin to reconfigure.
Not only did the majority of citizens widely reject the changes to the Constitution proposed by the Government —among them reducing the number of assembly members and rethinking the designation of State control authorities— but also the Citizen Revolution, the movement led by former President Rafael Correa, obtained the victory in several capitals and in small cities.
On Monday, and after several hours of silence, Lasso acknowledged defeat in a message to the nation and called on all sectors to work for a national agreement.
“What happened on Sunday was a call from the people to the Government and we are not going to evade responsibility. But there was also a call to the entire political leadership and the State. The Ecuadorian people ask that we stop paying for the quarrels between us and start solving the urgent and concrete problems of our people”, he explained.
The Ecuadorian president added that, although he considers the proposed reforms important and necessary for the country, the future well-being of the country does not depend exclusively on the referendum. He also took the opportunity to congratulate the winners of the local elections.
According to the National Electoral Council, the Citizen Revolution movement managed to win some positions in local elections. One of the main surprises was the triumph of Aquiles Álvarez for the mayor’s office of Guayaquil, who defeated Cynthia Viteri, the current occupant of the position. Álvarez’s victory put an end to more than 30 years of rule by the traditional Social Cristiano party.
The triumph of Marcela Aguiñaga in the Guayas prefecture was also a surprise. Contrary to what the previous projections indicated, the current prefect, Susana González, of the Social Cristiano party, was not able to be re-elected. González acknowledged her defeat in a message she posted on her Twitter account.
Meanwhile, in Quito, the correista Pabel Muñoz won the mayoralty of the Ecuadorian capital by beating, according to projections, former mayor Jorge Yunda, of the Pachakutik movement. The same thing happened in other provinces and cities where correísmo was imposed. This is the case of Sebastián Lloret, who managed to become the elected prefect of Azuay.
In Manabí, Leonardo Orlando won the prefecture, while in the Amazonian province of Sucumbíos the winner was Yofre Poma. In Imbabura, Richard Calderón won the prefecture, while in Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas and Santa Elena the prefectures went to correísmo.
So far, the official results give correísmo nine prefectures and at least seven mayors of the capitals of the 24 provinces of the country. The Citizen Revolution candidates also obtained dozens of positions in mayors of different cities, in the parish councils and in the councils of municipalities throughout Ecuador.
During an interview on Radio Pichincha, a station in the Pichincha province prefecture, former President Rafael Correa stated that Sunday’s result “is a turning point and a spectacular victory.” “Not even in the best times of the government of the Citizen Revolution with an Alianza País that was a structured party, the largest movement in the country’s history, had we managed to win Quito and Guayaquil,” said Correa.
The former mayor of Guayaquil, Jaime Nebot, leader of the Social Cristiano party (PSC), said in a message broadcast on social networks that they would work to correct the errors and multiply the successes they have had in the future. Nebot said that President Lasso made a mistake by combining the referendum with the sectional elections on the same election day and that he tried to “irresponsibly benefit” from the plebiscite.
“That caused a large number of Ecuadorians to use the election to punish him and say ‘no’ to their government,” Nebot said. In addition, he insisted that the referendum “was contaminated” with the election of authorities involved.
On the triumph of correísmo in several provinces, the political analyst and professor at George Washington University, Jaime Durán Barba, told CNN en Español that the low popularity of President Guillermo Lasso marked the worst scenario for introducing a constitutional referendum.
“A president with that image had to lose the consultation. I’m not surprised. People vote for the messenger, not for the message. There has never been a president with a worse image than Lasso. This happens because the government has been very inefficient, it has been very pedantic and it has contradicted that atmosphere of encounter and simplicity that existed in the second electoral round”, he added.