QUITO, Ecuador – Ecuador is electing the president on Sunday, but the name is not on the ballot on the lips of many voters.
Here in Ciudad Bicentenario, a tidy residential project on the Andean slopes of the capital Quito, it is on Rafael Correa that most hang their hopes of overcoming the overblown crisis brought on by an epidemic and recession.
A charismatic former president, Mr. Correia ruled in the 2000s during an economic boom that helped drive many leftist leaders out of poverty in Latin America and build a lasting popular following.
The leftist wave has since stopped; Most of its leaders were accused of corruption and authoritarian excesses. Mr. Correa himself was guilty of corruption, faces another 35 criminal investigations and is barred from running again.
But he, like the other powerful leaders of the so-called Pink Wave, looms large over the political landscape, polarizing the country and continuing to focus debate on his legacy rather than facing the reality of today’s Ecuador.
From exile, Mr. Correia endorsed the candidacy of 35-year-old Andres Arrouz, a well-known economist, known as Correismo, as the standard-bearer of his political movement. The proponent pushed forward Mr. Arazu for the presidency, although some of his supporters barely recognized his name.
“I’m voting for my Rafaelito,” said 65-year-old pensioner Maria Obando of Siadad Bentenario, using an affectionate short of Mr. Korea’s first name. When reminded that Mr. Koreya is not running, he said: “It doesn’t matter, I’ll vote for his man.”
Mr. Arruz, running against former banker Guillermo Lasso; Yaku Perez, an indigenous environmental activist; And 13 other candidates.
More than a third of voters say they plan to cast their ballot for Mr. Arrauz, placing him nearly eight percentage points ahead of Mr. Lasso and according to one, according to one-man victory distance in the first round of voting on Sunday Within. Compiled by 28 polling averages Election calculus, An Ecuador research group. (If he is 10 points ahead of his nearest rival, Mr. Arazoo can win by 40 percent of the vote.)
Mr Koreya’s enduring appeal may continue a regional trend that has seen recession-weary voters in Argentina and Bolivia return to power by leftist populist parties associated with better days and social spending.
“We, as a political project, want the return of policies that produce so well,” Mr. Correia said in an interview. He He said that he had personally told Mr Aruz that he had been chosen as a candidate for the movement and that he remains in “permanent contact” with him – he said, displaying a WhatsApp group that said that his connections in his protege Evidence included.
The nation’s longest-serving president, Mr. Correa, since emerging from military dictatorship in 1979, earned the loyalty of many by bringing stability to a nation with political and economic turmoil.
He Some of the nation’s oil revenues were handed over to the poor in cash grants, and they built schools, roads and heavily subsidized housing, like rows of three-story apartment blocks in Ciudad Bicentenario.
But after the fall in oil prices in 2014, the economy stagnated to a great extent and the epidemic stopped being in a serious crisis. Economic activity fell by an estimated 9 percent last year, when coronoviruses left hundreds of dead bodies on the streets of Guayaquil, Ecuador’s second largest city.
The long political shadow cast by Mr. Correa on Ecuador underscores how long South American leaders remained in power after their official long stint, often leading up to a chase.
Former Bolivian President Ivo Morales, who stepped into military pressure after seeking a fourth term, has continued to select candidates for his party since returning from exile in November. In Argentina, former President Christina Fernandez de Kirchner wants to continue to influence her party since returning to office as vice president in 2019.
In neighboring Peru, where there will be presidential elections in April, the daughter of jailed former President Alberto Fujimori is running second in some election campaigns, although the race remains unstable.
And in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, once popular leaders or their supporters bypass free and fair elections to end their rule.
Mr. Correia’s successor and his former vice-president, Lenin Moreno, want to see Ecuador breaking that mold, arguing that leaders with too much grip on power are unhealthy for democracy.
Mr. Moreno said in an interview during his visit to Washington last month, “The endowment of power, unfortunately, drives those who pursue it to achieve malice, who on more than one occasion, corruption and Even crimes against humanity have ended. “When your period is over, a leader has to say, ‘Correct, enough.”
After winning the election in 2017, Mr. Moreno broke up with his former ally and fundamentally reversed the nation’s course, abandoning Mr. Korea’s leftist populism and anti-imperialist rhetoric for a conservative economic policy and closer ties to Washington .
Mr. Moreno said he sought to rebuild democratic institutions damaged by his predecessor’s disdain for regulations. He In order to make it more independent to oversee the reorganization of the top court, reorganized the national debt and prevented official attacks on the news media.
“What he created was unfortunately lost direction,” Mr. Moreno said, referring to the previous administration.
Mr. Moreno did not seek re-election, and the presidential term was abolished by Mr. Koreya. His administration also investigated corruption, which resulted in the former president being convicted and eight of his ministers jailed. But Mr. Moreno’s austerity measures made him very unpopular, leading many Ecuadorians to clamor for Mr. Correia’s return.
Mr Correa said the corruption charges against him were political and called Mr Moreno “the worst traitor in Ecuador’s history”. He The measures of economic austerity should be scrapped and the top judges established by Mr. Moreno replaced. The president and attorney general investigated him, Mr. Correa said, would eventually end up in jail.
Such all-or-nothing politics reflects the costs of linings of Latin American leaders such as Mr. Correira, Risa Gris-Targo, an analyst at the Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy.
“Everything became a referendum on Koreya,” she said. “The results are these constantly swinging back and forth, as leaders change the system as they see their successors before they are fit to undo it.”
Ms Gris-Targo said these swings have weakened economic stability and investor confidence, making it difficult for the country to move forward.
Mr. Correa said he would continue to live in Belgium, where he moved in with his Belgian wife after he stepped down, but defended his enduring political ambitions. He He said that if he wins in office, he would advise Mr. Arruz, claiming to be “rightly aligned” with the candidate.
“What would be the problem?” Mr. Koreya said when asked if he would run for office in the future. “Leadership is desirable, no country has developed without leadership.”
Political analysts say that whoever wins the election will struggle to fulfill the promises of speedy recovery. National coffers are empty, and the bulk of the country’s oil exports go to China as repayment of Chinese loans.
“The situation is not the same, the economy is not the same,” said Jose Fernandez, a pensioner in Ciudad Bicentenario, referring to Mr. Correa’s boom years. “It’s going to be tough.”
Nevertheless, he plans to vote for Mr. Arruz, as he offers the greatest hope of replicating Mr. Correia’s economic success.
“Look, if this guy does exactly what Mr. Corey tells him, he’ll fix it.”
Jose Maria Leon Cabrera reports Quito, Anatoli Kurmanav from Caracas, Venezuela from Mexico City and Natalie Kittroff.