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2009-04-07

European mission to observe general elections in Ecuador

Fernando Sánchez

The European Union has deployed a 40-strong observation mission in Ecuador to monitor the 26 April general elections. President Correa has a clear lead over his rivals.

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Former president Lucio Gutierrez, the Patriotic Society Party candidate, is in second place in the Cedatos poll with 17.7 percent.

Former president Lucio Gutierrez, the Patriotic Society Party candidate, is in second place in the Cedatos poll with 17.7 percent.

QUITO, Ecuador – the European Union’s Electoral Observation Mission (EOM) announced that observers will be posted in Ecuador’s 24 provinces to monitor the organisation of the general elections. 

On 26 April, an expected 10.5 million Ecuadorians will vote for a president and vice-president, national congressmen, mayors and councillors, and provincial prefects and vice-prefects.

The 40 observers will monitor all stages of the presidential elections, and, if no candidate obtains an absolute majority, will stay on for a second round runoff on 14 June.

EOM representative Idoya Aranceta told El Telégrafo, “Any violation of electoral law will be mentioned in our recommendations”.

Meanwhile, the result seems to be a foregone conclusion, with the latest Cedatos-Gallup poll giving the incumbent president, Rafael Correa, a comfortable lead of almost 40 points over his rivals.

According to El Universo, the poll shows that President Correa, who is seeking another four year term for himself and a majority for his party in Congress, has the backing of 56.9 percent of voters. In second place comes Lucio Gutierrez, a former president, with 17.7 percent.

The third-placed candidate is Alvaro Noboa, a banana magnate, with 15.3 percent, and trailing far behind is Martha Roldos, a socialist, with 7.2 percent. According to El Comercio, assuming that there are no unexpected changes in voters’ preferences, President Correa could win in the first round.

The Cedatos director, Polibio Cordova, said that although the proportion of “don’t knows” has fallen to 31 percent it “is still high considering that the candidates are well known”. The figures came from the most recent Cedatos-Gallup International poll, which closed on 3 April after 2,824 interviews of eligible voters in urban and rural areas. The sample has a 95 percent confidence level with a 5 percent margin of error.

Under Ecuador’s constitution, a presidential candidate who obtains 50 percent plus one of the votes or at least 40 percent of the valid votes with a lead of more than 10 percentage points over his nearest rival will automatically win the election in the first round.

The Cedatos poll found that, when asked about the congressional elections, 70 percent of the electorate have yet to make up their minds, largely because they are not acquainted with the candidates’ proposals.

EFE reported that the poll shows that the ruling Country Alliance Party could obtain 67 of the 124 seats in the Legislative Assembly, followed by Gutierrez’s Patriotic Society Party with 17.

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