Country goes to pre-election mode: No campaigning, no booze

Mar 31, 2017

Ecuador entered its pre-election “quiet period” at 12:01 Friday morning and the dry law, banning the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages, goes into effect at noon. The rules remain in force through Sunday’s presidential runoff election.

Guillermo Lasso

The campaigns of Lenin Moreno and Guillermo Lasso wrapped up Thursday night, as the candidates carried out a whirlwind of appearances in Cuenca, Quito, and Guayaquil.

Although he is not a candidate, the election is considered by most voters to be a referendum on the 10-year presidency of Rafael Correa, with Moreno carrying the banner for Correa’s Alianza Pais. A former bank executive, Lasso is the candidate of change, advocating a scaling back and dismantling of much the strong centralized government built by Correa in the past decade.

Lenin Moreno.

Although most political experts give Moreno a slight edge in the race, according to a survey by Guayaquil newspaper El Universo, they also say that undecided voters will determine the outcome. Polls put the number of undecideds at between 10% and 15%.

The experts agree that it will be the most important election in 10 years. “It will determine whether the country will stay the course of a big, activist government or turn to the right, embracing a market economy,” says Quito economist Jorge Calderon.

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