Correistas celebrate ‘fabulous victory,’ winning major races and defeating Lasso’s referendum

Feb 7, 2023 | 91 comments

The Citizen Revolution is back! That was the message Ecuadorians woke up to Monday morning as the followers of former president Rafael Correa celebrated election victories in the country’s largest cities and provinces.

“We are poised to return the government to the people after Sunday’s fabulous victories,” Correa tweeted from Mexico, where he followed election results with several members of his administration who, like himself, are exiled from Ecuador.

Winning Citizen Revolution candidates Paola Pabón, left, and Pabel Muñoz celebrate Sunday’s victories for prefect and mayor in Quito. (El Comercio)

The Citizen Revolution, allied with the Union of Hope (UNES) party in the National Assembly, won prefect races in Guayas, Pichincha, Manabí, Azuay, Santo Domingo, Imbabura and Sucumbíos provinces as well as mayor contests in Quito and Guayaquil.

The defeat of Cynthia Viteri and the Social Christians in Guayaquil was the election’s biggest upset. The Social Christians had controlled both the mayor’s office and the municipal council in the city for 31 years. Citizen Revolution candidate Achiles Alvarez defeated Viteri by wide margin despite early projections that Viteri would win easily.

In Cuenca, Citizen Revolution prefect candidate Juan Cristóbal Lloret also scored what is considered an upset, defeating former Cuenca mayor Marcelo Cabrera.

In addition to impressive gains by Citizen Revolution, the indigenous Pachakutik party won prefect races in Cotopaxi, Tungrahua, Bolívar, Morona Santiago, Napo and Santa Elena provinces and mayoral races in at least 20 cities.

Citizen Revolution and Pachakutik also made net gains on municipal and provincial councils, although final numbers will not be announced until Tuesday.

The sucess of Citizen Revolution and Pachakutik come at the expense of the Social Christians and President Guillermo Lasso’s CREO party.

Almost as important to Correa’s supporters as the election victories, was the rejection by voters of all eight of Lasso’s referendum questions. “No, no, a thousand times no!” Correa posted in another tweet. “The people want no part of Lasso’s plans. They want change and want it now.” Correa added that Lasso should resign or be removed from office “immediately” since his mandate has been revoked.

Lasso appeared stunned by the defeat, cancelling a Sunday night press conference after early returns showed the “no’s” with a large lead. A poll showing all referendum questions passing by wide margins was released as poll closed and broadcast widely by the media.

On Monday afternoon, Lasso conceded defeat, admitting he had miscalculated public sentiment. “I have heard the message and I accept it,” he said. “What happened Sunday was a message to the government and the entire political leadership of the country. I was elected to serve the citizens of Ecuador for four years and understand that the political and democratic forces have made a statement with this vote. I will abide by the results.”

He added: “I also understand that important debates and discussions are forthcoming.”

Several political experts admitted Monday they were stunned by the results. Quito radio host and former municipal council member Carlos Goya said he “terribly misjudged” the feelings of public. “Voters are ready for a change and tired of the status quo,” he said on his radio program. “I was misled by the polls but, more important, I fooled myself that the election would not bring major change.”

Goya said he looks forward to seeing how the Citizen Revolution and UNES exercise their new strength. “They very reasonably believe they will win the presidency in the next election as well as a majority in the National Assembly. I look forward to watching how they play their cards in the coming two years.”

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