Presidential runoff campaign is officially underway; Cuenca could face electric blackouts; Gang leader killed; More women head Ecuadorian households

Sep 25, 2023 | 0 comments

Although both Daniel Noboa and Luisa González have been campaigning since August 20, the runoff campaign began officially on Sunday, September 24. The designation allows for advertising and other campaign activities not permitted earlier.

According to the National Electoral Council (CNE), the campaigns are allowed to spend up to $989,579 for written material, including press releases, radio and television advertising, and billboards. Although CNE urges the campaigns to include online advertising purchases in the budget, it does not have the authority to enforce spending for digital advertising, which has been ongoing since the August election.

In addition to the advertising limit, each campaign can spend up to $2,152,008 for meetings, rallies, and murals and promotional items used at the rallies.

Ecuador’s presidential campaign is officially underway ahead of the October 20 runoff election. (El Mercurio)

The official campaign period is 17 days and will end three days before the election on Thursday, October 12.

According to four polls released last week, Noboa has a 7% to 12% lead among voters.

Cuenca could face electric blackouts and water cuts
According to the director of Cuenca public utilities, the city could be forced to impose electricity “blackout periods” in the coming weeks due to drought. “I am afraid this will soon be necessary as a result to the low levels of rainfall since June,” Juan Pablo Moyano said Friday.

The electric capacity is likely to be further reduced as the El Niño develops, Moyano added. “If the current weather trend continues and El Niño is as bad as predicted, there could be rolling power shutdowns through February of 2024. All electric power generation in Ecuador is hydro and depends on sufficient rainfall, so this will be a countrywide concern. We had extensive blackouts in the 1998 and 2010 El Niños, and this could be the case again in coming months.

Moyano said electric limitations will be discussed at the Wednesday, October 27, municipal council meeting.

Meanwhile, the president of the independent Nero Water Project in southwest Cuenca, announced that water rationing is underway with households restricted to 12 hours of usage per day. The Nero Project serves about 12,000 households and is not associated with the Cuenca municipal water system.

Los Lobos gang leader killed
Hitmen have accomplished what prosecutors could not, by keeping the leader of the Los Lobos criminal gang off the streets. Santiago Leonel Madrid Guerra, alias “El Comandante,” was murdered early Saturday morning in Quito, his bullet-riddled body found near Plaza Nicaragua.

Madrid had been sentenced to 12 years in the Latacunga prison on murder, weapons and drug trafficking charges when a judge ordered his release earlier this year based on legal technicalities. Prosecutors had argued he would continue criminal activity if he was set free.

More women head Ecuadorian households
One of surprises of the 2022 national census is the percentage of households headed by women. Since the 2020, the number has increased from 23% to 38.5%.

In a statement, the census office called the change “dramatic” and said it was the result of higher divorce rates as well criminal activity that has led to a higher death rate among men. Other factors in the change are that more women hold professional degrees and have the financial resources to run households, and the out-migration by men.

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