In Ecuador's first general election in seven years, left-of-centre lawyer Jaime Roldos looked set to score a crushing victory over Conservative Sixty Duran.
In Ecuador's first general election in seven years, left-of-centre lawyer Jaime Roldos looked set to score a crushing victory over Conservative Sixty Duran. Thirty-eight year old Roldos would be the youngest elected President of this oil-rich country, and the youngest ever in all Latin America.
SYNOPSIS: The city of Quito, eight thousand feet (2,800 metres) up in the Andes mountains is the capital of the second largest oil exporter in Latin America. The country has been ruled for the past seven years by a military triumvirate led by Admiral Alfredo Poveda Burbano after it toppled the regime of five time President Juan Velasco Ibarra.
The first round of voting took place last July, when Senor Roldos and the fifty-seven year old former mayor of Quito, Senor Duran, emerged as presidential candidates. Since then, progress toward this second round was repeatedly delayed by rumours of a coup d'etat, scandals and resignations in the electoral tribunal, and the assassination of the leader of a political party Abdon Calderon.
Ecuador's population numbers six and a half million and it was compulsory for two million of them to vote for a president, vice president and 69 representatives.
The voting trends appeared to observers to reflect a desire to improve the lives of the many rural dwellers who have remained poor despite seven years of big oil revenues. Mr. Roldos has campaigned on a pledge to introduce democracy and social justice. But the new president will take office in a country with a history of political instability. There have been 59 coups since Ecuador won independence from Spain 159 years ago.