Election campaign doesn’t officially begin for weeks but the candidates are already on the trail

Jun 22, 2023 | 1 comment

Although the official start of the cross death election campaign for president and National Assembly doesn’t begin until August 8, most candidates are already in the streets and on social media.

Presidential candidate Yaku Pérez and his running mate Norlyn Pinela at a rally last week in Quito.

In Cuenca this week, noisy processions for presidential candidates Yaku Pérez, Luisa González and Fernando Villavicencio on Calle Simon Bolivar culminated at Parque Calderon. Similar rallies are being held throughout the country.

“Even for the scheduled campaigns, people ignore the rules and start early, but this is a special case because its an emergency election,” says University of Guayaquil history professor Gilbert Palomino. “Since the circumstances are exceptional and the candidates have only two months to promote their messages, I don’t think the National Electoral Council (CNE) will be especially strict in enforcing the rules.”

Palomino adds: “I think the CNE will focus on campaign expenditures but even this is difficult. It’s obvious that money is already being spent on the rallies and street marches.”

So far, the electoral council has had little to say about early campaigning although CNE President has warned that she will be “watching the money very closely” to make sure spending caps are not exceeded.

Former CNE member Luis Castro says maintaining strict campaign schedules with fines for violators has become increasing difficult in recent years. “The introduction of social media into the process has changed everything and we have not adjusted our rules to account for,” he says. “Given the nature of the internet, it would be almost impossible to control the messaging even the council tried.”

He agrees with Palomino that, given the compressed schedule the cross death imposes, it would be almost impossible to control the campaigning. “Since some of the candidates are already holding rallies, anyone who waits until August would be at a big disadvantage. To restrict official campaigning to 12 days, from August 8 to 17, is not practical and everyone knows it.”

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