Thousands of Ecuadorians living abroad were unable to exercise their right to vote in the August 20 presidential and parliamentary elections. The telematics system has failed. Of the nearly 400,000 Ecuadorians living outside their country, only 51,623 passed the procedures. Faced with the avalanche of complaints, the National Electoral Council (CNE) of Diana Atamaint he was forced to take action. Under pressure, a week later and after the results had already been checked, he decreed that there would be a repeat of the general elections in the three outer constituencies to allocate a total of six seats in the National Assembly. The panel set a date for the rerun: October 15, coinciding with the second round of the presidential election; and modality: personal.
Thousands of Ecuadorian citizens living abroad were left without a voice.
It is the first time that we have voted exclusively telematically. The February 5 elections saw mixed votes in Spain and Italy, where the proportion of Ecuadorians living abroad is highest. We voted in person and the remaining constituencies in Europe voted electronically where there are fewer voters. Even then there were some problems with the platform. We have warned and denounced that if left uncorrected it could happen again. At no point could we imagine that the CNE would not only fail to improve the system, but also fold its arms in the face of the disaster that ultimately ended in the telematic vote. What should have been the Party of Democracy turned out to be a technological test in the end.
Therefore, they demanded the re-election abroad.
From the first moment we demand the annulment of the results and new elections.
Some voices called for the elections to be repeated, but only for those unable to vote. Why are you asking for a full replay?
Because we have no guarantee that the votes have not been violated. As reported by the CNE, the system suffered (cybernetic) attacks from nine countries. There are a number of inconsistencies within the virtual log itself that cannot be explained. We understand that the judgments do not allow us to determine the number of people affected. From a democratic point of view, we are guarantees. We have commissioned a member of parliament with this information. We could take a conservative position and say, “Well, the elections won’t be repeated.” But we have always defended the rerun before we knew the results.
But the presidential election will not be repeated.
Our proposal also envisaged a repeat of the presidential elections (abroad). However, the CNE has made a partial repetition as the section of an article of the Democracy Code covers only those dignities that can be affected by the number of votes we have abroad, which is 3%. That is, it has no influence on the overall result. If that 3% hypothetically voted for a party, which wouldn’t happen anyway, it wouldn’t change the candidates who got through to the second round.
His Revolución Ciudadana party did better than expected in the elections. The polls have shown a decline in his candidate Luisa González in recent weeks.
All the incidents that have taken place over the past few days have left the population feeling scared but also exhausted. Those who got us into this situation are the ones who fueled confrontational, divisive hate speech for years. We needed a return of state. Such is the state of despair in Ecuador that people are crossing the Darien Jungle and losing their lives on this migratory route to the United States. There are companies that have to close due to blackmail by mafia groups. This was only possible because the control of the state diminished so much that the political mafias eventually invaded all institutions. There aren’t even medicines in hospitals. Therefore, the voting has channeled the options considered by the population that could best meet these needs.
They expected to get into the runoff. But were you surprised by candidate Daniel Noboa’s arrival in the second round?
Yes, he was a relatively unknown candidate. But the most important thing is that no one came by whose political banner was anti-Correanism. It is important for Ecuador to speak without hate and to discuss two different country models so that the arguments return to the political discussion. This is a democratic triumph.
Is the debate between Correísmo and anti-Correísmo over or is this break still very present?
Not so much anymore. Surely they will quote him again for the second round. We’ll see how the rest of the candidates position themselves. Noboa is a candidate of the oligarchies, but his tone in the first round was different from that of Otto (Sonnenholzner), for example. That’s good news. The most important thing now is that a second round of voting can take place normally, even if it has an adverse effect on the country for us to go to the vote. For several months we will have Guillermo Lasso governing alone, without the National Assembly or any other countervailing power.
Jan Topic supported Noboa in the second round. Are you hoping for a candidate’s endorsement?
Beyond the candidates, we hope that support for the causes can be added. We talk about the environmental, feminist and indigenous movements. Of all people who want to build a strong state. Because Noboa’s proposal is to belittle the state. There are two clear models that are confronted.
What do you attribute this surge in violence to, with more than 1,300 murders committed in the first quarter of the year alone?
According to official information from the public prosecutor’s office, there will be around 4,000 so far in 2023. It is due to several phenomena. First, the decline of the state, of public authority, of means and resources. In addition, the route of drug trafficking has shifted. From Colombia it went to Ecuador. A significant part of the drug now reaches Europe via the port of Guayaquil and reaches Antwerp. These routes are also changing due to the fentanyl trade in the US. Resolving these types of problems also requires regional coordination, and in this case, Guillermo Lasso’s leadership was completely absent. This is also a cause of the institutional weakness in proposing solutions to apparently complex problems. The issue of drug trafficking and its infiltration of the state cannot be solved overnight. We are neither naive nor demagogic. But it is also true that this is only possible with a strong state and with international alliances, and in this sense our candidate Luisa González met with the diplomatic missions and with representatives of the European Union itself.
Ecuadorian citizens living in Spain told LA RAZÓN that responsibility for the rise in violence was due to the Correísmo legacy. They mentioned issues like the inclusion of general citizenship, the dismantling of the US military base in Manta, or the approval of the drug use table.
It is part of the reasoning of all people dedicated to installing stories. But we are more of data. With the Citizens’ Revolution, we became the second safest country in all of Latin America. We implement an integrated security system using the best technological devices. Even 4,000 criminal gangs were broken up. Not only do we combat the self-serving stories they seek to foist, but we also remember that Colombia, for example, has several US military bases and has never managed to increase their numbers. The only thing the existence of these bases tells us is that there is a transfer of sovereignty. Not only must outside interference be demanded, but rather the presence of the state.
They were also accused of giving access to the facilities to persons close to or members of these organized crime gangs.
This has never happened before. You’re certainly talking about the articulation of some bands like the Latin Kings, but that’s a phenomenon that’s being studied internationally. There is a lot of literature about it. It cannot be compared to the drug gangs that have taken power. I try to understand the arguments, but there is no basis that can be corroborated with reality. Of course, we do not make any agreements with persons who are outside the law. On the other hand.
How does Revolución Ciudadana analyze the assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio?
We condemn the murder in the strongest terms. Of course we demand that the state conduct an investigation. The security of this candidate was at the expense of the state, the family itself sued the state. There must be an investigation, justice and redress. The assassination of a presidential candidate in an electoral process is clearly insane and cannot be tolerated in any democracy. But it is true that in Ecuador some lives cannot be worth more than others. Several people are killed every day. In the Villavicencio case, we want to clarify what happened. We reject the use of violence as a political weapon. We understand that struggle in a democracy is dialectical and never violent.
The Villavicencio circle blamed the environment and legacy of Correísmo for murder.
It was part of the strategy to keep Luisa González from being eliminated in the first round. Which poll-leading candidate would have an interest in eliminating the Fifth? Not even in a feature film is such a far-fetched question asked. It is nonsense. It’s part of the climate of hate they’re trying to create, which was defeated in the elections. Let’s hope it finally ends because we have spent several years of political persecution in Ecuador. We still have leaders with the figure of political asylum both in Belgium, former President Rafael Correa, and in Mexico.
Former President Correa’s tutelage of Luisa González and the Revolución Ciudadana machine has been criticized.
There is a macho vision of reality in which women are deprived of agency. When there’s no man to support the decisions, they don’t seem to carry equal weight. We must begin to overcome these issues that weigh on us as a society and to overcome this internalized misogyny, and in this case, to acknowledge Luisa González’s own agency. She has already said that if she becomes president, she will seek advice from Rafael Correa. But the fact is that important governments in Latin America are already doing this. It is part of democratic normality. Finally, former presidents also play important roles within governments.
Will González be the Correísmo candidate for 2025?
You expect discussions. I don’t have a crystal ball and I don’t know what will happen in 2025. We have to see what our political organization decides.