by Paola LozadaThe runoff election for Ecuador’s next president is on April 2, and it will be the first time in 10 years that Rafael Correa — the popular current president, who has served two terms — isn’t on the ballot. This final round of voting would not be taking place were it not for the efforts of a nonviolent campaign — featuring virtually all sectors of society — that sought to protect and defend the presidential election in February after issues of fairness and transparency came to light. This broad-based movement did not materialize out of nowhere. Instead, it was the culmination of years of organizing.
Sliding toward autocracy
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa was elected for the first time in 2006 under the banner of “Citizen Revolution,” which promised structural changes in the administration and the creation of a more equitable society. However, over the last 10 years, Ecuador has moved in the direction of an autocracy, where the normal democratic mechanisms are blocked. The government has called national news media outlets corrupt; traditional political parties have been branded as “partidocracia,” a derogatory term to describe the influence of political parties as a disease affecting the democratic regime; and indigenous opponents have been persecuted and criticized.