The people of Ecuador will be going to the polls for the first time in 10 years when polling takes place on Sunday (16 July) in the presidential elections.
SV TILT FROM: cathedral spire TO people reading papers
CU: men reading newspapers (3 shots)
SV: two men talking PULL OUT TO square.
CU: Indian woman in crowd and street scenes (2 shots)
CU: leaflet being distributed from car to women.
GV: Cathedral and presidential palace.
SV: Indians marching with banners supporting Huerta
SV: more demonstrators supporting Huerta
SCU: Huerta in street acknowledging crowds
GV: Cathedral square filled with people with posters supporting Huerta.
Last week the Government of Admiral Poveda refused a request to lift emergency legislation for the duration of the election campaign. The request, from all the political parties, included the release of political prisoners and the restoration of habeas corpus.
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Background: The people of Ecuador will be going to the polls for the first time in 10 years when polling takes place on Sunday (16 July) in the presidential elections. The successful candidate will require 51 per cent of the vote. Reports from Ecuador suggest it is unlikely that any candidate will achieve this target in the first round of voting on Sunday.
SYNOPSIS: Ecuador has been under military rule since 1972 and popular interest in the election is reported high. Six candidates are contesting the first round. The election follows the adoption of a new constitution which was approved by the voters in a referendum earlier this year.
About 50 per cent of the population are of Indian descent, 30 per cent mixed race and the remainder divided between Europeans Blacks and Asians. Ecuador is one of the richest countries in South America, rich in oil and other resources. But the wealth of the country is unevenly distributed with the mass of the population living in relative poverty.
But now the current Government, a 3 man junta headed by Vice-Admiral Alfredo Poveda, believes the time is ripe for a return to democracy.
One of the front-runners for the presidency, is Raul Clemente Huerta who represents the Liberal party. Last week he accused the Catholic Church of openly campaigning in support of the Conservative candidate Sixto Duran Ballen.
Huerta's supporters claim he is topping the opinion polls but other polls show Ballen just ahead of Huerta with Jaime Roldos of the centre-left party coming up fast.