Although they have not yet decided on a presidential candidate, some members of Citizen Revolution (CR) say they know who should run for vice president: Former president Rafael Correa.
“It is the feeling of the Citizen Revolution leadership as well as many Ecuadorian citizens that Rafael Correa should appear on the ballot as a candidate for vice president,” said Virgilio Hernández, executive secretary of CR. “We are aware of the risks with this plan but believe that having Rafael on the ballot will be a rallying strategy for the leftist movement.”
Correa is not allowed to run again for president following a 2017 national public referendum that limited presidents to two four-year terms in office.
Among the risks Hernández refers to is the fact that Correa could be arrested if he returns to Ecuador to campaign. Pre-trial arrest warrants have been issued for the former president in two pending legal cases, one involving a 2012 kidnapping and the other for bribery. Another risk is that if he is found guilty in either case prior to the February 2021 election, Correa’s name would be removed from the ballot.
Daniel Crespo, a political consultant and former presidential advisor, says the idea of running Correa for vice president is a symptom of the confusion among the country’s political left. “Given the deep divisions in ideology and strategy, the leftists are looking for symbols and, in my opinion, Correa is a very divisive symbol,” he says. “Many in the left, including some indigenous organizations and the Popular Unity party, want to build a new movement without the Correistas, and many in that effort will not vote for CR under any circumstance.”
Another political analyst, Carlos Esteban, agrees that the left is deeply divided and says it could hurt its chances in the coming election. “On the other hand, the right is also divided, which means that it is anyone’s game at this point,” he says. “One point that cannot be ignored is that Correa still has strong public support that may be growing stronger due to the ineptitude of the current government.”