We’d almost forget about it, with our current focus on Valentine’s Day, but on Sunday the 4th of February, we’re off to the polls. The fact that voting is mandatory in Ecuador, makes it a bit of an inconvenience for the flower industry. Growers have to allow their workers to go and vote on one of the busiest peak days of the year.
In the upcoming referendum, we’re asked to give our opinion about seven legislative proposals and constitutional amendments, for example with the aim of tackling corruption, limiting mining and oil drilling activities and reducing possibilities for re-election. Those in favour of the constitutional amendments seem to be heading for a big win – it is predicted they will get 70% of the votes.
A totally different picture from less than a year ago, when the presidential elections completely polarised the country and our current president Lenin Moreno won so narrowly. There have been many political changes since then.
Who is this Moreno anyway? He was vice president in the first government of Correa, who stepped down last year. Moreno’s party put him forward with the idea that he would continue with the political programme of the past 10 years. However, pretty soon after he’d won the elections and was sworn in as president, it became clear that Moreno had a completely different course in mind. Much more moderate and united.
His approach to corruption in particular, he even had his own running mate arrested and locked up, was embraced throughout the country. There were also people who were less enthusiastic though, like his former friend and party colleague Correa.
In fact, the situation has escalated to the extent that it has split the party in two. One half supports the yes campaign, the other half is strongly opposed. Some of Correa’s supporters have even referred to Moreno as Judas, because of his willingness to negotiate with the opposition and his plans to annul some of the laws that were recently implemented.
The next couple of years are going to be interesting. Is Moreno really going to succeed in uniting the country? The biggest challenge is still ahead of him: reducing state expenditures and implementing the economic reforms which the country so urgently needs. Let’s wait and see.
Victor van Dijk,
Area manager South America, FleuraMetz,