Conaie to push for ‘zero’ indigenous vote in runoff, says it will not recognize the new government

Mar 16, 2021 | 18 comments

“No Correa, no Arauz, no Lasso, no Nebot,” was the motto adopted Monday by the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie) following the Electoral Dispute Tribunal’s (TCE) decision not to recount votes from the February 7 election. “If the democratic result of the election is ignored and Yaku Perez is not allowed to compete in the presidential runoff, there is no choice for the native people of Ecuador but to vote ‘no’ on April 11,” said Rafael Lucero, Pachakutik assemblyman.

Indigenous leaders discuss their next move following the rejection of Yaku Perez’s election appeal. (El Comercio)

Sunday’s TCE decision officially advances the leftist and Rafael Correa protege Andres Arauz and the conservative banker Guillermo Lasso to the runoff election. On Monday the National Elections Council announced that the runoff campaign begins Tuesday with the candidates participating in a debate on Sunday.

“If the [TCE] decision is not reversed, the indigenous organizations will not endorse either candidate and will not recognize the winner as president of Ecuador,” Lucero said. “We will be in constant opposition to the government for the next four years.” He added that election polls currently show Arauz and Lasso tied and suggested that the candidates will attempt to win indigenous in the runoff. “They need us to win but we will say no.”

Lucero’s comments came at Monday’s Conaie meeting in Guaranda, where leaders of several movements gathered to plan their election strategy. He said that a coordinated effort will be made to visit indigenous communities to encourage a unified “no” vote in April. “Our cause has been disrespected and our goal is to speak as one voice next month. We want 100 percent no.”

Among other reactions to the TCE decision discussed at the Guaranda meeting was the option of calling a national strike to disrupt communication and transportation in the country.