Top three candidates compete for presidency in Ecuador

Latin America

Ecuador

Ecuadorians are heading to the polls on Sunday to elect a new leader to replace Rafael Correa, the country’s current and longest-serving president.

His former vice president, wheelchair-bound Lenin Moreno, is the current front-runner.

CGTN’s Dan Collyns reports.

Top three candidates compete for presidency in Ecuador

Ecuadorians are heading to the polls on Sunday to elect a new leader to replace Rafael Correa, the country’s current and longest-serving president. His former vice president, wheelchair-bound Lenin Moreno, is the current front-runner. CGTN's Dan Collyns reports.

As a champion of education opportunities and rights of disabled people, Moreno is popular. However, opinion polls indicate that he’s unlikely to win in the first round.

His style is less confrontational than his predecessor and some observers say Moreno may drop some of Correa’s less popular policies.

Lenin Moreno could be Ecuador’s first paraplegic president. Nevertheless, his lead is challenged by rising unemployment and a sluggish economy which is fueling support for the opposition’s pledge to create jobs and cut taxes.

Former Banker Guillermo Lasso is riding a wave is anti-Correa sentiment and Moreno’s closest rival in the poll.

Lasso’s campaign has capitalized on corruption allegations leveled against key figures in Correa’s administration.

“In the Ecuadorian family, the conversations are about the lack of work, fear about the future of Ecuador, they also talk about the corruption that reigns in Ecuador, that’s why we have to vote for change so we can fight against corruption,” Lasso said. His supporters say Ecuador needs new leadership.

“We are tired of the corruption, we are tired of knowing there’s no justice, that the citizens don’t have guarantees so we want to vote for change, we want a change for our country,” Lasso supporter Nancy Vargas said.

Running third in the polls is Cynthia Viteri, who has pledged to cut taxes and slash excessive government spending which has saddled Ecuador in debt.

Mired in recession, Ecuador has struggled after oil prices plummeted in 2015. Regardless of who wins, many voters say Correa’s legacy of radical social and political reforms will be hard to undo.