Banker Ahead of Socialist in Final Days of Ecuador Election Race

A career banker, a socialist and an indigenous party candidate all have a shot of winning Ecuador’s presidential election, according to one of the nation’s best-known pollsters.

But it’s unlikely that any of them will get enough votes to win outright in the first round on Feb. 7, according to Angel Polibio Cordova, president of polling company Cedatos.

“The probability is greater than 50% that there will be a runoff among two of the three” on April 11, Cordova said in a a Jan. 22 interview.

Conservative candidate Guillermo Lasso of the CREO party led voting intent in Cedatos’s most recent poll this month. Lasso, a former CEO of Banco Guayaquil SA, had 24% support compared to 15% for economist Andres Arauz, a protégé of socialist former president Rafael Correa.

Yaku Perez of the Pachakutik indigenous party was in third place with 12%, according to the poll of 2,670 people, conducted in the first half of January.

To win outright, a candidate needs at least 40% of valid points and a ten-point margin over the runner up. The 13 other candidates have little chance of making the second round, Cordova said.

Cedatos expects to release a final survey this week ahead of a deadline banning the publication of polls.

Read More: Ecuador Gets $3.5 Billion From U.S. After China Fails to Provide

The pandemic is unlikely to deter significant numbers of people from voting, except perhaps for the very young and people of pension age, Cordova said. In Ecuador, voting is compulsory except for sixteen and seventeen year-olds, and the over-65s, for whom it is voluntary.

Close to a third of voters in Ecuador traditionally decide who to vote for in the polling booth. The candidates who can appeal to these undecided voters will reach the runoff, Cordova said.

The election winner will be sworn in on May 24, taking over from President Lenin Moreno. The economy contracted 11% last year, its worst performance since at least the 1970s, according to an estimate by the International Monetary Fund.

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