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Leftists look to build a coalition to challenge in presidential and National Assembly elections

With the national election less than 13 months away, Ecuador’s leftist political organizations are considering forming a common front.

Conaie President Jaime Vargas considers a leftist coaltion.

“There are a number of conversations going on about building a leftist coalition to support a strong presidential candidate,” says Marcel Merizalde, a Quito political analyst and university professor. “They are also talking about coming together with a slate of candidates for the [National] Assembly but this is more problematic since the different parties have different political agendas.”

Merizalde and other observers say that the leftist and center-leftist field appears wide open without a strong candidate from the Correista Citizens Revolution. “The Moreno regime has run the most viable CR candidates out of the country – very unfairly and probably illegally, in my opinion – so there is room for new faces and new parties to make an impact in the next election.”

On Wednesday, the leftist Popular Unity party (UP) presented a plan to “Unite the people for a 2021 government.” According to political director Geovanni Atarihuana, urban leftists should unite with the indigenous movement and other leftist factions to create a common front. “We believe we should rally around a single presidential candidate and I believe the candidate should be indigenous,” he said. “We need to build on the energy of the October strike to take back the country from the rightwing and the neoliberals.”

Atarihuana says UP and other leftist organizations are in alignment with the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities (Conaie), labor unions and student organizations. “We all agree to fight mining, oppose the agreement with the International Monetary Fund, end privatization of public assets and to maintain the fuel subsidies. It is logical that we come together to support a common agenda.”

Conaie and Pachakutik, the indigenous political party, say they are open to creating a unified effort but say that any decisions will come through hundreds of local indigenous organizations. “This will be a bottom-up decision, not top-down,” says Jaime Vargas, Conaie president. He added: “It is our goal to elect a president and we understand this will only happen through a process of building coalitions.”

Merizalde says the idea of forming a common leftist front with the indigenous is not new. “It has been tried in the past and has failed,” he says. “Indigenous politics are difficult to measure so it is hard to know what they will decide. Over the years, Pachakutik has not been consistently leftist and has often supported rightwing causes so I say the jury is out on whether an effective coalition is possible. They may decide to support their own candidate.”

Carlos Esteban, a former political consultant from Cuenca, says that using the October protest as a rallying point for the left could be a mistake. “The strike was very divisive and many center-leftists were turned off by the disruption it caused, especially the blockage of highways and the attacks on public facilities,” he says. “Among the left, there is common opposition to ending the fuel subsidy but, beyond that, there are many differences.”

Both Estaban and Merizalde say predicting the next presidential election is almost impossible at this point. “A lot can happen between now and February 2021,” Esteban says. “What we know for sure is that there is a battle for the center-right between [Jaime] Nebot and [Guillermo] Lasso with Nebot trying to position himself as a centrist. We also know that Alianza Pais is fading and that the Citizen Revolution still has considerable support. All I can say is, stay tuned. It will an interesting year.”

23 thoughts on “Leftists look to build a coalition to challenge in presidential and National Assembly elections

  1. An interesting piece. Who wrote it? Why are articles published without a byline?

    If a leftist coalition can be established for the Presidential election, it would have a strong chance of winning.

    Everyone seems to agree that the chances of the governing Alianza PAIS in the next Presidential election appear to be nil. President Moreno has run that party into the ground.

    1. Most news organizations don’t byline short articles where opinions are clearly attributed, which is the case here. I agree with you and the article that Alianza Pais is over. Good riddance.

          1. Dan is correct — from a journalistic point of view — about the byline and attributions and most readers are not aware of the use of public domain. Because I’m interested in the subject, I read two other articles besides the one in Comercio and know the source of the quotes. I found the blog post by Carlos Esteban especially interesting. I agree with him: the coming year will be very interesting if you follow Ecuadorian politics.

            1. Forget bylines and sources. The real question is whether a credible liberal candidate will emerge or if Nebot will have smooth sailing to the presidential palace.

              1. Of course no credible liberal candidate will emerge. Nebot’s puppet has seen to it that they are all put under indictment just in time to keep them out of the election. He’s even shutting down media outlets that give them a voice.

    2. The left will never establish a coalition because TPTB will buy off the key players to ensure it falls apart. They did it with Moreno, they’ll do it with the next guy. That’s the problem with tercermundista politicians. The honest ones only come along once in a generation. That’s why USAid-funded talking heads spend so much energy convincing us that term limits are a good thing even though the most prosperous countries in the world don’t have them.

      1. If you are correct Jason, then left in-fighting may very well lead to a right wing President being elected in 2021.

        1. Infighting won’t even factor into it. Moreno’s singular purpose is to ensure that no viable left-wing candidate is even allowed on the ballot.

          1. Infighting among the left will always factor into it, if it occurs. As will any moves towards uniting the left.

            I respect your view, but I have my doubt’s the Moreno government, as weak as it is, will be able to keep all leftist candidates and parties off the ballot.

            The government is certainly making moves to prevent a number of leading individuals who are potential candidates, especially those associated with Citizen’s Revolution, from running. That’s bad enough and should be opposed and stopped. If the government were to succeed in keeping all leftist parties off of the ballot, that would be absolutely horrendous and undemocratic, and it might well spark another paro.

            1. Any leftist with any name recognition will be kept off the ballot. Heck, most of them are already in jail without trial or in exile anyway. Any other leftist who manages to get on the ballot will be boycotted by the television networks and their campaign ads will be censored by the networks without their consent just like they did to leftist candidates for the CPCCS. The only real question is whether or not Nebot will run and be coronated or choose to remain behind the scenes and run his puppet Sonnenholzner instead.

              But as sure as the sun rises, Lasso will run yet again, lose yet again and scream fraud yet again.

  2. Vargas has stated:
    “The Moreno regime has run the most viable CR candidates out of the
    country – very unfairly and probably illegally, in my opinion – so there
    is room for new faces and new parties to make an impact in the next
    election.” Little does the author know that Mr Correa bought a home in Belgium to live in not Moreno. And that Moreno was Correa’s handpicked candidate for the presidency. Leftists choose to make up their own facts much like the Big peach does in the USA>

    1. So is the Big Peach making up the facts about having the hottest economy on the planet? EC should be glad the US economy is doing well since they buy 45% of all EC exports.

      1. The Big Peach has directed the US economy to a $19 trillion deficit. There is your “Stable Genius”

        1. Bernie or Pocohantas will top that deficit no problem, once either gets in and everything is guaranteed free. Come one, come all, no citizenship required.

          1. Sometimes it is far better to say nothing and be thought of
            as a fool than to speak and erase all doubt!!

          2. Compare Republican vs. Democrat deficits over the past 70 years and you’ll realize you’ve been duped.

            But you won’t bother to find the data because that would set off too much cognitive dissonance.

          3. Actually the facts and history show that it has been Republicans who have run up the deficit. When not in office, Republicans rail about the deficit and how they’ll fix it. When in office, the Republicans spend, particularly on the military, like drunk gamblers in Las Vegas. This has been true of the last two Republican administrations – Bush and Trump. Republican voters keep getting played by the promises of politicians, but they never seem to wise up. They fall for rhetoric around the deficit every time.

            Other than Bernie, AOC, and a small number of others, I’m no fan of the Democrats either. Establishment Democrats also lie like rugs to the voters. They just tell a different set of lies. For example, President Obama promised he’d stand with working people, but when push came to shove in 2008, he oversaw the bailout of the banks and the sell out of the people. At a Labor Day campaign speech in 2007, then candidate Obama declared that if elected President he would not only stand with workers, he would walk union picket lines. In 8 years in office, President Obama never walked a single picket line.

        2. Did you forget, or is it too inconvenient for you to admit, that Obama increased the natl debt by 85%???

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