Ecuador holds its eighth election in ten years today, featuring thirteen candidates for the title of President of Ecuador.
Among the favourites (if such a thing exists in a field of thirteen) are a real live banana magnate, Ecuador’s richest man from money made in those plentiful banana fields and a former finance minister who has come up with the novel approach of defaulting on the nation’s national debt in order to get out of financial peril.
Rafael Correa is considered the main contender from the left, an ally of Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, it is thought that his election could continue the tide of leftist regimes of late on the southern half of the hemisphere. Making Ecuador the latest member in the club that includes Venezuela and Bolivia.
One of his main opponents Alvaro Noboa has the support of the centre-right of the nation, and is considered the most pro American candidate in the race. Not the most popular of territory in that part of the world in the last little while.
Today’s election isn’t actually expected to produce a winner, instead just a couple of favourites for a run off election expected in November.
Though you have to wonder why anyone might actually want the job, of the last seven Presidents, the last three were forced out of office for a variety of offences, while only three Presidents have filled a full term in office since 1979.
Instability it seems is the common thread of political life there, a fact not lost on a good number of the people there, 9.2 million of whom are forced by law to vote and who are threatening to use that forum to spoil their ballots and send one of the few messages that might be listened to.
Regardless of which candidate eventually wins, political observers suggest that a rather nasty left right split in the nation is in store for the land, providing a fair amount of political intrigue to a nation that seems to stumble along from crisis to crisis.
The votes will be in by 3pm PST; no doubt it’s an election that is receiving a fair amount of attention in Washington, which has seen a rising tide of anti American rhetoric from the region over the last few years. Owing to a rather leftist tilt to the continent in the last couple of years.
Should things go the way that many suggest in Ecuador, there could be one more voice added to the chorus by the end of November. Providing one more headache to the Administration of George Bush and perhaps one more controversial speech maker making plans to join Hugo and the gang at the UN General Assembly next year.
Update: October 16,2006--Results are in with the field narrowed down to two contestants for the November run off election.