In Ecuador, moves to replace the ruling military junta with a democratically elected civilian government culminated wit voters going to the polls for the first time in ten years o Sunday (16 July).
In Ecuador, moves to replace the ruling military junta with a democratically elected civilian government culminated wit voters going to the polls for the first time in ten years o Sunday (16 July). The country's 148-year old history -- since independence from Spain -- has been studded with more than 50 military coups. The most recent took place six years ago when populist President Velasco Ibarra was overthrown for the fourth time. Reuters news agency report that voting took place quietly despite threats of violent disruptions.
SYNOPSIS: Scenes like this in the small town of Sangolqui -- a few miles (kilometres) south of the capital, Quito -- were repeated countrywide as voters went to the polls to elect a civilian government. The armed forces have pledged to respect the outcome of the election, which six candidates are contesting. And troops were well in evidence at polling stations to ensure voting passed peacefully.
Only tow million of the country's seven million people are eligible to vote, and for those that are, a visit to the polls is compulsory. The penalty for railing to register is loss of civil rights and possible imprisonment.
In the election, voters must also register their choices for Vice-President, Mayor, Councillors and Provincial Administrators, so ballot papers are unusually long. The successful presidential candidate must secure over 50 per cent of votes cast. If this falls to happen a second round of voting will take place -- as in French-style elections -- in September.