Thanks to the cross death, Ecuador enters another election year and candidates test the waters

Feb 12, 2024 | 0 comments

It’s hard to believe Ecuador has entered another election year. That’s the sentiment of several political analysts following the National Elections Commission announcement Friday that voters will go to the polls February 9, 2025 to elect a president and new National Assembly.

The top presidential candidates for the 2025 election, according to analysts: Carlos Rabascall, Jan Topic, Luisa González and Daniel Noboa.

“This is the reality that [President] Guillermo Lasso presented us by imposing the cross death — a 17-month political cycle,” says Simón Pachano, Quito political science professor and consultant. “Ready or not, we are already seeing political alliances forming and candidates emerging, especially for the presidential race. Most of us aren’t prepared for it but the informal campaign is underway.”

According to television analyst Óscar Terán, the surprise election of Daniel Noboa last year and the fight against narcro traffickers in 2024 has “set a very confusing table” for the next election. “No one predicted Noboa’s victory, and few anticipated his decision to declare the national emergency,” he says. “The question for those who challenge him is how to respond to his popularity and to the popularity of the war against the drug cartels. There are many other serious issues, such as a poor economy and a high poverty rate, but most of the national attention is focused on crime.”

In a radio panel discussion Friday, Terán, Pachano and three other analysts agreed on Noboa’s top challengers in 2025: Luisa González, Jan Topic and Carlos Rabascall. “This is an early prediction, of course, but these potential candidates appear to be the most formidable at this point,” Pachano said.

“Following last year’s election, there was talk that Andrés Arauz might replace González in the 2025 election for Citizens Revolution but [Rafeal] Correa has made it clear he opposes a change,” Terán says. “Like the other opposition, Correismo is not just looking for a candidate, but also for ways to make inroads into Noboa’s public appeal.”

The emergence of Rabascall, a former Correa ally, could pose a problem for CR, says Pachano. “His emergence as a candidate is a surprise but he has made it clear he intends to run,” Pachano says. “He wants to create an alternative center-left movement to CR and because he has supporters within CR, this could take some support away from González,” Pachano says.

Although he ran in 2023 as a centrist or a right-centrist, Topic remains somewhat of a mystery, according to the analysts. “He wants to present himself as having a strong anti-crime, anti-gang position, but Noboa has claimed that territory,” Pachano says. “His options are to assume an extreme position, like Bukele in El Salvador, or to focus on other topics.”

Noboa’s biggest concern is which political movement to represent, says Terán. “Obviously, he is in good position for reelection, given the short cycle, but he lacks strong party backing. He joined Democratic Action shortly before becoming a candidate, but he is aware that it is a loose coalition. ADN must be strengthened to improve its electability in the National Assembly as well as to provide Noboa with greater support in the presidential election.”

Although Terán says it is still early in the campaign, he adds that it is not as early as some might think. “The decisions and alliance being formed now will determine the shape of the next election,” he says. “Very quickly, attention must turn to how to confront Noboa’s popularity and the fact that it will probably continue.”

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