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Latin America

Feb 18, 2013

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Unlike Cyprus, Ecuador’s election will have no need for a second round. President Rafael Correa has been comfortably re-elected; the BBC reports that his main rival, conservative Guillermo Lasso, has conceded defeat.

Full results have not been published, but the Ecuadorian electoral council publishes early results on the basis of sampling, which give Correa 56.7% of the vote against 23.3% for Lasso and just 6.6% for third place-getter and former president Lucio Gutiérrez.

Exit polls had earlier put Correa on 58.8% and Lasso on 20%. For a single nationwide ballot that’s quite a large error, so it may be a sign of Correa’s authoritarianism that voters don’t like to admit to voting for his opponent. But it could equally well be poor polling technique, or for that matter poor sampling by the electoral council.

There is as yet no sign of results for the national assembly, but with that sort of support there must be a strong chance that Correa’s party will win an absolute majority.

His first round victory was even easier than it might seem, because Correa did not actually need to win over 50% to avoid a runoff. The constitution provides that a candidate can also be elected on the first round if they have more than 40% and a margin of more than 10% ahead of their nearest opponent. It’s a useful measure for saving trouble and expense in cases where there is no real doubt about the final outcome.

Unless he comes up with a creative way of avoiding term limits, this will be Correa’s last term. Assuming he lasts the full four years, he will become the longest continuously-serving president in Ecuador’s history.

Charles Richardson — Editor of The World is not Enough

Charles Richardson

Editor of The World is not Enough

Charles Richardson has contributed to Crikey since 2002, and was a ministerial adviser in the Kennett government and a former editorial manager at the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney.

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