Looking ahead to a runoff election, presidential candidates are already considering coalitions
Although Ecuador’s cross death elections are two months away, several candidates and their supporters are already talking about throwing their support to one of the top finishers in a runoff election.
“Based on both public and private polling, everyone knows there will be a runoff,” says Ramiro Diaz, a supporter of former vice president Otto Sonnenholzner. “Right now, our attention is on helping our candidate to win but, with eight candidates in the field, we realize that no one will win a majority in the first election.”
Even before candidates registered with the National Electoral Council, Fernando Villavicencio talked about forming a coalition among candidates, including Sonnenholzner and Yaku Pérez. “I felt confident that if we coalesced around one candidate we could win a majority in the first election,” he said. “Because of the emergency conditions of the election, however, there was not enough time to put anything together.”
He added: “Although there are political differences among us, there are also broad areas of agreement and mutual respect.”
Although he is concentrating on his own campaign, Cuenca environmental attorney Pérez says he is open to an alliance “when the time is right.” Early this month, he said he, Villavicencio and “at least two other candidates” shared many of the same positions on environmental and other issues.
Newspaper columnist and radio commentator Pablo Pardo said the idea of a runoff election coalition gained traction after the first polls showed surprisingly weak support for the Correista presidential ticket. “There was an assumption that the CR [Citizens Revolution] would be in a stronger position based on their success in the local elections,” he said. “But the first internal polls as well as the two published polls show their support less than 35%, before and after the selection of [Luisa] González, which has encouraged anti-Correistas like Villavicencio and Pérez.”
Based on the internal polling, Pardo says Villavicencio, Pérez and Sonnenholzner together appear to have the support of 55% of voters.
“However, it is far too early to make predictions for the runoff,” says Pardo. “The CR has the strongest political organization in the country, and I am sure they will add support before the October election. After that, we’ll see how and if the anti-Correistas come together.”