Ecuador Elects Youngest-Ever President To Rebuild ‘Destroyed’ Country

On Sunday, Oct. 15, Ecuadorians voted Daniel Noboa, 35, heir to the banana business, as the country’s youngest-ever president-elect.


Noboa claimed to “restore peace” to a country torn by a deadly drug gang conflict after the electoral commission declared him the winner and his competitor Luisa Gonzalez admitted defeat. He made it clear that “tomorrow we begin work to rebuild a country that has been severely hit by violence, corruption and hatred.”


Ecuador has seen an increase in violence in recent years as rival gangs with ties to Mexican and Colombian cartels fight for dominance.


Since February 2021, at least 460 inmates have been massacred in jails, with many being beheaded or burned alive in riots. In a display of force, gangs are dangling decapitated corpses from city bridges and detonating car bombs before police stations.


In August, anti-graft and anti-cartel presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio was killed in a volley of submachine-gun fire after delivering a campaign address.


Following the assassination of former journalist Villavicencio, a state of emergency was imposed, and Noboa and Gonzalez campaigned and voted in bullet-proof vests and with extensive security personnel.



On Sunday, Noboa told supporters in his home town of Olon in the southwest his goal was “to restore peace… to bring back education to the youth” and create jobs.


Ecuadorans voted Sunday with no reports of violence, watched over by some 100,000 police and soldiers.


“May we elect the best president because (he or she) will govern a country that is destroyed… to address all these problems such as insecurity,” Indigenous voter Ramiro Duchitanga told AFP in Cuenca in Ecuador’s south.


“It is a critical election,” added Freddy Escobar, a popular 49-year-old singer in Quito, citing crime as his main worry. “I am voting in fear, not knowing what will happen.”


According to polls, the major concerns of Ecuadorians are crime and violence in a country where the murder rate has doubled in the four years leading up to 2022. According to polls, the second most important issue for voters is unemployment.


Noboa, who received almost 52 percent of the vote according to a near-complete count, was chosen to fill the term of incumbent Guillermo Lasso, who called a quick election to avert possible impeachment for alleged corruption.


Under the law, Noboa can run again for the 2025-29 presidential term, and the one after that.



Noboa is the son of one of Ecuador’s wealthiest men, who has five failed presidential attempts.


The president-elect, who has only two years of legislative experience, describes himself as “center-left” yet supports neoliberal economic ideas.


He ran on the ticket of the National Democratic Action Alliance, a brand-new coalition of parties from the center and left of the political spectrum.


Noboa reiterated Sunday that he intends to “give progress to a country… that has all the elements to be a global example.”


Gonzalez was chosen by socialist ex-president Rafael Correa, who governed from 2007 to 2017 and now lives in exile in Belgium to avoid serving an eight-year jail sentence for graft, which is another huge issue in the country.


Gonzalez received the most votes in the first round of voting in August, with 34%, followed by Noboa with 23%.


On Sunday, she offered her “profound congratulations” to Noboa, “Because this is democracy.”


Addressing supporters in Quito, Gonzales also said she would not be claiming fraud.

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