Ecuador will be holding a presidential election next month, on February 19. Rafael Correa is not running, but his appointed successor, Lenín Moreno, is (emphasis added):
Mild-mannered Moreno, 63, who has used a wheelchair since a botched robbery in 1998, is running on a platform of continuing his boss’ policies. And, so far, the promise is working.
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In some ways, Moreno is in a race against time. As oil prices have tanked, the administration has been able to hold off a deeper economic crisis by taking on more debt and loans against future oil exports. It’s racked up almost $14 billion in debt in 2016 alone, said Jose Hidalgo, with the conservative economic think-tank CORDES.
In a country with a total GDP of US$94 billion (a little over the GDP of New Mexico), that’s a big chunk of change.
Moreno’s running-mate and current Vice President Jorge Glas was in charge of Petroecuador when allegedly at least eight current and former officials were involved in bribery and money laundering by manipulating contracts. Glas maintains he was not involved.
The election may go to a second round if the opposition rallies around a candidate. The latest poll showed Moreno leading with 35.6%, 13 points ahead of former banker and center-right candidate Guillermo Lasso, with 22.3%.