Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Rafael Correa's Re-Election Options

Catherine Conaghan, who has written a lot on Ecuador, asks whether Rafael Correa will find it too risky to try and run for another consecutive term. Not surprisingly, she sees it as the less likely scenario.

From now until December, the reelection maneuvering and two possible outcomes will dominate conversations.  Under one scenario, Correa and Alianza País will push ahead with the amendment, ignoring negative public reaction and repressing protests if necessary, and Correa will decide on his candidacy depending on his view of the economy and the state of the opposition.  In a second and perhaps less likely scenario, Correa and his party may just abandon the reelection plan, concluding that the political costs are just too high.  This would set off power struggles within Alianza País over who would head the ticket.  Among the prospective frontrunners are former Vice President Lenín Moreno, current Vice President Jorge Glas, Production Minister (and former Ambassador to the United States) Nathalie Cely, and former Industry Minister-turned-critic Ramiro González.  In the process, Correa will be looking to anoint someone loyal and capable of governing the country until he can return as a candidate in 2021.  Under both of these scenarios, Ecuador is bracing for a volatile year ahead.  Natural disasters – a possible volcanic eruption of Mount Cotopaxi and El Niño – could also fuel uncertainty, giving Correa a chance to shine and rally, or to fail and deepen doubts about his leadership.  After eight years of relative political stability and economic good times, Ecuadorians are pondering whether a post-Correa era could be at hand and what it would mean.

With Otto Pérez Molina's resignation and imprisonment alongside questions about whether Dilma Rousseff would last out her term, I guess we'll be seeing more of these scenarios for other presidents. This is a tough time to be a Latin American president. Among other things, Chinese demand for commodities has dropped, oil producers are hurting badly, spending is harder to maintain, and people are getting fed up with corruption.

I wonder about the "Ecuadorians are pondering" part at the end, though. Or at least it would be nice to have links. To what degree is this a growing topic in Ecuador?


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