Voters decide today if they want more of the same or a major change of course

Apr 1, 2017 | 1 comment

By shortly after 5 p.m. this afternoon, Ecuadorians will most likely know if Rafael Correa’s Citizens’ Revolution will continue for another four years. Although Correa is leaving office after 10 years, his would-be heir apparent, Lenin Moreno, says he will maintain most of Correa’s center-left policies but with a change of management style.

Soldier delivers a ballot box to precinct near Quito.

Conservative challenger Guillermo Lasso, a former bank executive from Guayaquil, favors scaling back the size of government, returning some of its functions to local government and the private sector, reducing taxes, and establishing a market-friendly economy.

If the vote is close, as some analysts predict, the outcome may not be clear until late in the evening.

Polls give Moreno the lead, two of them by double-digit amounts and two others by just outside the margin of error. A fifth shows the race a dead heat. The deciding factor will be undecided voters who account for eight to 15 percent of the electorate, according to polls.

The National Electoral Council (CNE) has authorized five polling organizations to provide exit polls, which will be available immediately after the polls close at 5 p.m. In addition to the official CNE vote count, the non-profit xxxxx, has been authorized to provide a “quick count” working alongside CNE vote counters.

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Ecuador’s election is receiving special international attention as a barometer of political trends in Latin America. With last year’s triumph of center-right candidates in Argentina and Peru and the ouster of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in Brazil by impeachment, most observers believe that the so-called “pink tide” in Latin America is on the wane.

A win by Moreno might suggest otherwise.

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