Sunday 19 February was the big day. After months of political campaigns, we finally got to cast our votes for a new government and a new president.
One thing was for sure: current President Correa couldn’t be re-elected after being in office for 10 years. But was the population going to vote for a continuation of the left-wing ‘revolución ciudadana’ (the Citizens’ Revolution) that he initiated? Or were they ready for a new course?
The main election issues included tackling corruption, the financial crisis and employment. The ruling parties and opposition parties’ campaigns were harsher than ever before. Videos in which they slandered each other were popping up all the time.
And just like everywhere else these days, the majority of the population has a smartphone and social media has become an important part of everyday life.
The problem with this overload of information is that sometimes it’s hard to know what to believe. Take for example this picture, which went viral at some stage: of an Emirates cargo plane parked at Quito airport. We use it every week, to ship our flowers to Europe. But the suspicious voter believed it was part of a secret route for smuggling banknotes to Dubai.
The country was – and continues to be – totally polarised. You’re simply for or against the current political direction. Such a contrast with the widespread solidarity of 10 months ago, immediately after the earthquake.
Economic reforms, or a continuation of the social programme of the current government? It’s clear that the flower industry supports the opposition. Guillermo Lasso, leader of the largest opposition party, has already indicated that he would make haste with a free trade agreement with the USA, which would mean no more import duties on Ecuadorian roses. The current tariff is 6.8%.
In the meantime, the election results have been announced. Presidential candidate Moreno, of the ruling party, missed only a few votes to be elected in one voting round. A second round, which will take place on 2 April, is needed to determine who’s the winner. Is it going to be Moreno or Lasso? I have already made my choice!
Victor van Dijk
Area manager South America, FleuraMetz