In the midst of the political crisis unleashed after the dissolution of the National Assembly of Ecuador by President Guillermo Lasso, possible candidates for the presidential and legislative elections have begun to emerge.
The highest electoral authority anticipated that the new elections for assembly members and president -which will complete the current term- would be held in August. The electoral body is expected to call the new elections in the coming days.
Among the politicians who have begun to promote themselves to contest the shortened presidency of a year and a half is the indigenous and environmental lawyer Yaku Pérez, who in the last elections was about to leave Lasso out of the second round, who in the end prevailed by a minimal margin.
The names of former vice president Otto Sonnenholzner, former assembly members Fernando Villavicencio and Daniel Noboa and former presidential candidate Pedro Freile are also mentioned. In addition, it is expected that the main opposition party Unión por la Esperanza -related to former President Rafael Correa (2007-2017)- and the official CREO party will participate with their respective standard bearers.
Pérez said Friday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press that he was preparing for the 2025 race, but “as the day dawned earlier, it looks like we’re going to have to rise to the challenge” for this transition period.
“It is very difficult, very hard, but due to historical responsibility with the country we will have to assume,” he said. He said that the Democracy Yes party has proposed his candidacy together with political and social organizations.
Pérez ran in the last elections for the indigenous Pachakutik party, waving the banners of protecting water sources, land, and rejecting mining and oil extractivism. He campaigned on a bamboo bicycle and walking, which aroused sympathy, especially in the popular sectors.
Pérez pointed out that Ecuador is going through “the worst crisis” due to economic problems and the resurgence of violence from organized crime and drug trafficking, as well as “galloping corruption.” The politician also pointed out the “indolence” of the government towards the indigenous and peasant sectors, considered the most vulnerable.
dissolution of the assembly
Lasso, 67 years old and who is in the middle of his four years in government, ordered the dissolution of the Assembly – which was impeaching him for alleged embezzlement – as a way out of the political confrontation. The president has not clearly said whether he will run again.
During the afternoon, fifty university students launched shouts of protest against Lasso’s decision in the vicinity of the Central University, where they burned a puppet with a mask with the president’s face.
Since the dissolution of the Assembly, the country has remained relatively calm.
The National Electoral Council anticipated that the first round of elections would take place on August 20 and an eventual second round on October 15, although these dates must be ratified by that body.
Sonnenholzner, who was vice president during the government of Lenín Moreno (2017-2021), told the local Radio Única that he is analyzing the possibility of competing in the new elections. “We are not only able but also obliged to take on the challenges” of an eventual presidential candidacy, he said.
For his part, Villavicencio, a well-known former assemblyman opposed to Correa, also confirmed that he is considering that alternative but said that before making a final decision he will meet with parties and organizations that could support him.
According to analysts, from the beginning of Lasso’s administration, the opposition majority in the Legislature constituted a permanent obstacle for the president to be able to execute his government plan, by blocking or rejecting projects that the Executive considered vital as one to attract investment and Modify expired labor regulations.