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With Moreno off the 2021 ballot, Alianza Pais looks for a new direction, new leadership

According to some Alianza Pais (AP) members, the political party that has held Ecuador’s presidency for 12 years, needs to redefine its purpose. “The party desperately needs a new direction if it is to be a force in the next election and beyond,” says Ximena Peña, a member of the National Assembly, suggesting that AP should reestablish its connection with Ecuador’s leftist as well as centrist movements.

President Lenin Moreno says he will not seek reelection.

Party leadership agrees and says an AP convention, planned for October or November, will chart a new course and set new objectives.

With President Lenin Moreno’s decision not to run for reelection, executive director Gustavo Baroja acknowledges that AP must reestablish its appeal to the voters that have supported it since former president’s Rafael Correa’s election in 2006.

“At the convention, we will look for public policies that can benefit not only our center left base but the entire electorate,” Baroja says. ”Most of all we must reestablish the legitimacy of our leadership.”

Although Baroja says the party should begin to identify potential candidates for the next election, he says it is too early to name names. “First, given the controversies and rifts of recent years, we must first decide who we are and what we stand for.”

Former Guayaquil mayor Jaime Nebot is a favorite to succeed Moreno as president.

Determining what AP stands for will be no easy matter, according to Carlos Espinosa, political analyst and lecturer at San Francisco University in Quito. “At the moment, Alianza Pais appears rudderless. Its leaders say they need to reconnect with its leftist roots but Moreno continues the move to the right and away from the policies of the Correa era,” he says. “The break with the Correistas has caused serious damage to the party and it is an open question if that can be repaired. Moreno’s uninspiring leadership certainly doesn’t help matters”

Specifically, Espinosa says that Moreno’s loan deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and his continuation of Correa’s mining and oil exploration policies have alienated much of AP’s traditional base.

Privately, some AP members wonder whether the party can survive as a major political force. “To accomplish anything in the Assembly, we are forced to join with conservatives and centrists,” says an assemblyman who did want to be identified. “The table is set for a conservative victory in the next national election,” he adds.

Although Espinosa agrees that the next president will probably be a centrist conservative, either former Guayaquil major Jaime Nebot or Guillermo Lasso, he says establishing effective leadership in the country will be difficult. “I think the next Assembly will be extremely fractured between the conservatives, what is left of AP, Correa supporters and new movements. We could be in for a period of political gridlock if not chaos, some of which we are already experiencing.”

21 thoughts on “With Moreno off the 2021 ballot, Alianza Pais looks for a new direction, new leadership

  1. Of course, Jaime will run. No doubt. That’s why he fought so hard to have Cynthia installed as Mayor of Guayaquil; you know, to have someone keep an eye on the store.
    I’m voting for Nixon.

    1. Abel, who cares about Jaime and Cynthia? What the world wants to know is what is your position on repaving the super-highway across the Darién Gap. Asphalt or concrete?

      I’m with you, buddy. The lunar landing was faked. Did you see them chemtrails over Azoques this morning?

    1. Of course it will. He’s the choice of the oligarchs including those who own the media. It’s why they’ve given him a free pass all these years even when he showed up on the Odebrecht list.

  2. This article echos what Ecuadorians have been telling me – President Lenin Moreno’s turn to the right away from continuing the legacy President Rafael Correa has doomed him and his party. There is little doubt that Moreno’s relentless attacks on the left, including prosecutions of Correa and other leading figures, have done tremendous damage to the reputation of the left. The reputation of the Ecuadorian left has also been damaged by the economic and political crisis gripping Venezuela, which it was loosely allied with under Correa, even though much less radical policies were pursued by Correa than were in Venezuela.

    As devastated as the Ecuadorian left is, and as much as it has been legally repressed and prevented from forming its own party, it still did better in last March’s election than Moreno’s governing Alianza PAIS.

    In Quito, the nation’s capitol, Alianza PAIS candidates for the city council received only 2.4 percent of the votes, while the left, running on the party line of the previously unknown Fuerza Compromiso Social, received 19.2 percent. The governing party’s candidate for Prefect of Pinchincha got only 2.7 percent of the vote, while a candidate from the left running on the Fuerza Compromiso Social line pulled off a stunning upset victory winning with 23.1 percent of the vote.

    The leftists (also known as Citizen’s Revolution, although they have been prevented from organizing a party in that name) only managed to field candidates through Fuerza Compromiso Social in 25 percent of the provinces, yet they still racked up more votes for Prefect and Alcalde than did the governing party Alianza PAIS running candidates in the whole country.

    The evidence is in. Moreno has greatly damaged the popularity of the left, but has virtually destroyed his own party’s popularity in the process. It’s little wonder that the political science professor predicts that a right-wing party will win the Presidency in 2021.

    1. Thanks for an interesting post which presents reasonably well the current situation going forward.

    2. Moreno hasn’t damaged the popularity of the left. He’s destroyed Alianza Pais. The left has been forced to go elsewhere. If he manages to keep the former AP members from forming a political party in the next election, Nebot will have a chance. That’s why they acted so shamelessly to keep them from forming a party. The entire strategy hinges on lawfare. He’ll certainly have the press on his side. However, in the internet age, the power of the newspapers and television networks to control the narrative is dwindling.

      It’s pretty clear that everything that has been happening over the past two years was all an effort to pave the way for Nebot (he even picked Moreno’s vice-president), but don’t underestimate the level of incompetence running the show right now. They’re starting to lose control of the situation, most recently going so far as getting the Constitutional Court to order the CPCCS to NOT REVIEW the irregularities of the transitional council that led to the Constitutional Court being replaced with handpicked judges in the first place. The Assembly has voted to hold impeachment hearings in a last ditch effort to block a branch of government from providing the checks and balances the Constitution requires them to do. Their only hope is to continue the lawfare strategy to keep anyone from the left from running and to keep their handpicked attorney general and self-appointed Contralor in there long enough to run out the clock, but if anyone does manage to get on the ballot, or if any of these key individuals are removed in time, the entire house of cards will come tumbling down.

      And keep in mind, Nebot has a lot of baggage that the Ecuadorian people aren’t going to forget about so easily. His macabre role in the Febres Cordero administration, the Restrepo Brothers, the bank holiday and the fact that he somehow managed to become a very rich man despite only working as a public servant his entire career will all be under a microscope. He used patronage as a way to secure support in Guayaquil (that, and refusing to allow the tens of thousands of people from poor areas to vote in mayoral elections because he did not recognize them as part of Guayaquil), but he can’t pull that off on a national level. Neither him nor his party hold enough key positions nationwide to dole out enough favors. I think the race will be a lot more competitive than people are giving credit for. Then again, they could just fix the election. There are a lot of indications that the CNE did just that in the previous election. Apparently the elected CPCCS isn’t supposed to be allowed to review any of that either.

      1. I hope you are right. I fear the damage done to left cannot be so easily dismissed. That said, I agree that the Ecuadorian left has not been destroyed. It will likely rise again. None of the underlying conditions of the capitalist underdevelopment of Ecuador’s economy and all the injustice, exploitation, and racism which flows from that.

        I just doubt that this will happen before the 2021 election, as I am seeing a left on the back foot, in retreat, and not doing a lot of organizing. I hope I’m wrong and that you are right. I’d like to see more public organizing going on. I’d also like to see more organizing in nonelectoral arenas.

        1. The same majority that voted left in every Ecuadorian election this century will be voting in the 2021 election. Added to that are the 20-somethings who grew up and became politically aware during the Correa administration, the same ones who are suffering the highest unemployment and loss of education benefits under Moreno’s right-wing polices. They only way the right wins in 2021 is if they fix the election (which I don’t put past them).

  3. One of the perceived problems with the truly liberal is that they dialogue with passion. Look at fractious Continental Congress that founded the USA!!!! Liberals feel that fractious dialogue is at the very core of democracy.

    Non-liberals avoid dialogue or dispute. Can you imagine a member or the GOP or any totalitarian party even suggesting alternatives to the policies and actions of their leader of the moment?

  4. So disappointed that Moreno is not running. His balance between left and right is what the country needs.

  5. Whether you like him or not, Moreno has demonstrated sincerity in his role and is overwhelmed with the mess left behind by Correa. That he won’t run again speaks volumes. Intentionally or not, he’s decimated his own political capital and has set the stage for a center-right victory in 2021.

    Leftists, if they can form a coalition, could be a strong second. However, Correa burned bridges with his original leftist coalition and has since discredited himself with many of his original supporters. His party can be a force in local elections but I don’t see how the numbers would add up for him a national election.

    1. “Sincerity in his role”? Campaigning on one platform and then, after getting elected, abandoning that platform and governing in an opposite manner is without honor.

    2. Sincere if you mean cynically lying to get elected, cynically imposing policies that are the exact opposite of every single campaign promise, cynically appointing an unqualified attorney general so that she doesn’t open an investigation into the millions found in his offshore accounts and then cynically lying every time he gives an interview.

  6. I am not adept at political matters, but my empathic nature does allow me a sort of gut level understanding of what the average middle and lower class,(economically speaking) Ecuadorian may hope for in the next elections. Most long for honesty, transparency and hard work from their elected officials. Most people I know are truly tired of the methods used over the past 12 years, truly disappointed by the lack of moral values in Correa and others, resigned to the fact that political campaigns are 90% lies(as one taxi driver stated), they just want GOOD LEADERS, but now have serious doubts as to whether such politicians even exist. For most, becoming a politician is sinonymous of “just another get rich quick scheme”, and most people don’t want that kind in government anymore. Trust is at an all time low, and nobody knows who to believe anymore.

  7. Of course Moreno isn’t going to run. His approval rating is in the teens and by the time the real effects of his neoliberal policies are being felt (just in time for the election), he’ll be lucky to finish his term. Moreno saw to it that AP is dead and gone. That’s what he’s been doing for the past two years. The only people left in the party are sad opportunists hoping to get a position in Moreno’s government (most of his ministers last less than a year). Of course as time runs out, those opportunities are looking fewer and farther between so the infighting has begun.

    Whatever dirt they had on Moreno to get him to sell out his party and the voters who elected him (INA Papers anyone?), his to-do list was pretty clear; destroy AP so that it is never a factor in electoral politics again, block any efforts by AP members who quit the party from forming their own party, make sure Correa cannot run for anything and pave the way for the PSC (Nebot) to return to power. With his job done, he can expect a nice golden parachute in Miami complements of international financiers, the Isaias Brothers and whatever BS lecturing position the State Department gets for him at a US university (like they did for Mahuad).

    This is why Nebot has been so quiet for the past two years. He’s issued very few comments on the current events in Ecuador other than a tepid response in a recent interview with friendly media, saying that he “didn’t agree” with the IMF’s policies being imposed even though they are the same policies he was screaming for in his weekly radio show just a couple years ago. He’s keeping a low profile until his coronation, maintaining distance between himself and everything that Moreno has been doing even though it has been the party he leads that has been pushing for all these changes nobody voted for. He’s a very shrewd politician. How else can you explain a guy who has been caught up in so many major scandals managing to stay viable for so many years? I mean seriously, the guy was on the Odebrecht list at the same time Lasso was calling for the full list to be released (his Odebrecht code name is “Matraca”) yet none of the major papers gave it more than a cursory mention.

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