While the electorate of Ecuador prepares to go to the pools again for the second time in three months, the leaders of the ruling military junta attended the independence day parade in the capital Quito, on Thursday (10 August).
While the electorate of Ecuador prepares to go to the pools again for the second time in three months, the leaders of the ruling military junta attended the independence day parade in the capital Quito, on Thursday (10 August). Strict security measures were in force for the annual event and newsmen were not allowed near the dias where the military leaders stood to takes the salute.
SYNOPSIS: The three members of the junta, Admiral Alfredo Poveda Burbano, General Guillermo Duran Arcentales and General Luis Leoro Franco drove to the podium in military vehicles. Crowds and newsmen were kept well back by security forces and armed police patrolled the route of the parade, reflecting the tensions which still surround political life in Equador.
The July Presidential elections were the first to be held for ten years. The military government had agreed to respect the outcome of the poll and to hand over to civilian rule, but none of the candidates gained a clear majority and so there is to be a second ballot in September. The present junta seized power six years ago. Ecuador has a history of coups and counter-coups. Since gaining independence from Spain 156 years ago, the country has had 50 coups and changes of government.
In April this year, the streets of Quito were patrolled by soldiers following violent riots. At least four people were killed and many injured and more than 500 people arrested during the disturbances over a 40 per cent price rise in travel fares. Despite the rioting, the elections themselves were peaceful. Voting is compulsory for the two million of the total population of seven million eligible to vote. Only two of the six candidates who contested the presidency in July will stand again in September.