“According to the candidates for mayor, each one leads in the pre-election polls. How is this possible?” asks Jorge Ramos, a contributor to Radio Tomebamba, Cuenca’s top radio news station.
Ramos is not the only one asking the question. At least nine of the 13 candidates for mayor have announced on the station’s morning talk show that their polls put them in the lead.
The issue of the polls came up several times Thursday night during the first of several debates between mayoral candidates. When Paul Carrasco, current Azuay Province prefect, said he was leading the polls, Mayor Marcelo Cabrera congratulated him and said he hoped Carrasco’s poll is more reliable than his speeches, a reference to Carrasco’s plagiarism of a speech delivered earlier by a candidate for mayor of Madrid, Spain. Carrasco blames the theft on one of his campaign workers.
Although no independent polls have been taken of mayor’s race, Radio Tomebamba’s Ramos says the smart money is on Cabrera, Carrasco and former Olympic champion Jefferson Perez. “I understand that Cedatos-Gallup plans to conduct a poll soon so we may get more clarity,” he says. “The election is more than a month away and a lot can happen between now and then but most people close to the campaign see it as a three-way race.”
According to a social media consensus, Thursday’s debate between five of the candidates at the University of Azuay was a disappointment. One WhatsApp poster said that the night’s only notable development was that Perez didn’t show up. “Where was he, we don’t know,” he said. “Otherwise there was nothing new beyond the promises we’ve already heard. We had hoped for some discussion about the tranvia but there was very little.”
In addition to Cabrera and Carrasco, Jaime Astudillo, Tarquino Orellana and Brandon Tenesaca participated in the televised debate, which did not allow an audience. A second debate, with the remainder of the candidates, is scheduled for tonight at the UDA.