Presidential front-runner Lenin Moreno agreed Wednesday to join a “dialog” with the other seven candidates to be hosted by the Quito newspaper El Comercio. The event will be broadcast on television and radio on a date to be determined.
Moreno, who says his campaign has been overwhelmed with requests to participate in joint appearance with the other presidential candidates, asked that the event be available to all media and that the format allow a for “civil exchange of ideas.”
He said he would not participate in a U.S.-style presidential debate. “What we saw in the recent debates between Trump and Clinton was nasty and disrespectful,” said Moreno, Alianza País candidate and former vice president under President Rafael Correa. “I refuse to wallow in that gutter.”
During the first official week of the, calls for lower taxes has been a dominant theme in the campaigns of conservative candidate Guillermo Lasso (Creo) and liberal Paco Moncayo (Deomcractic Left).
In an interview Wednesday with the Ecuvisa television, Lasso said that the elimination of 14 taxes is at the heart of his campaign. “My administration will send the message to the people of Ecuador and to the world that we are open to investment and business,” he said. “To do this, we have to get rid of many of the fees and taxes imposed by the Correa administration.”
Among the taxes Lasso wants to eliminate are the tax on money sent overseas, the green tax on larger cars and trucks, the agricultural tax, and the recently enacted plusvalía tax on extraordinary gains in real estate sales.
Lasso also said that strengthening the private banking system is one of his priorities. “We need to give the banking sector the confidence it needs to lower interest rates and extend more credit.” Lasso is a Guayaquil bank president.
Democractic Left candidate Moncayo, campaigning on the coast, also said taxes and “excessive government regulation” need to be pushed back.
“The only way for Ecuador to recover from the earthquake and economic recession is to open our doors to investment and encourage entrepreneurship,” he said. “The message that our people are receiving today from the government is one that encourages inaction and stagnation.”
Moncayo also said he would relax the “harsh government treatment” of government protesters and dissidents. “When I am elected, I’ll empty the jails of political prisoners.”