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Ecuador Gets Ready for the 2013 Elections

On February 17, 2013, the Ecuadorian people will choose a new president and vice-president, 137 representatives for the National Assembly, and 5 representatives for the Andean Parliament. In the days leading up to this Ecuadorian civic process, political parties and movements are developing campaign plans and programs to entice voters with the benefits of their political positions.

However, many Twitter users still don't know who to vote for, as Josué Peña (‏@JosueRafaelPA) [es] expresses:

@JosueRafaelPA: Y ya saben por quién votar para presidente? Yo aún NULO se, veremos después #EleccionesEc

@JosueRafaelPA: Does everybody know who to vote for, for president? I still DON’T know, we'll see later

The presidential candidates

There are eight presidential candidates in Ecuador, registered and approved by the National Electoral Council. [es]

Among these eight are the current president, Rafael Correa of the PAIS Alliance Party, the former president (Jan. 15, 2003 – Apr. 20, 2005) Lucio Gutiérrez of the Patriotic Society Party, the economist and political leftist Alberto Acosta [es] of the Plurinational Unity of the Left, and the businessmen Guillermo Lasso of the Movement for Creating Opportunities (CREO) [es] and Álvaro Noboa of the Institutional Renewal Party of National Action (PRIAN). Also aspiring to the presidential post are the evangelical pastor Nelson Zavala of the Ecuadorian Roldosist Party (PRE), Mauricio Rodas of the United Society Movement for More Action (SUMA) [es], and Norman Wray of the progressive movement Ruptura 25.[es]

Reactions online

Carlos Correa, author of the blog Bitácora de calú [es], shares the post “#EleccionesEC Perfil del candidato, propuesta y capacidad de ejecutarla” [es] (“Profile of the candidate, proposals and ability to carry them out”) in which he notes three basic reflections for choosing a good candidate for the country. According to Carlos, the first parameter is to know the candidate's profile:

Perfil del candidato. Quitándose los prejuicios de que sea conocido o desconocido, lo primero es informarse sobre su perfil: estudios, trayectoria personal y profesional, línea de pensamiento, su conjunto de valores y principios, referencias de terceros, identidad digital (web), logros concretos obtenidos, grupo aliado que promociona su candidatura, etc. Pero repito: hay que quitarse los prejuicios de que te sea conocido o que te resulte un perfecto desconocido.

The candidate's profile. Leaving side the bias of whether you know him or not, the first thing is to learn about his biography: studies, personal and professional trajectory, line of thought, set of values and principles, references from third parties, digital identity (web), specific achievements, allied groups that promote his candidacy, etc. But I repeat: You must forget your biases about whether you know him or whether he's a perfect stranger.

Then he suggests that the public needs to learn about the work plan, the promises and proposals the candidates offer:

Propuesta de trabajo. Su propuesta, que no se escude en la de su partido o movimiento, que se la pueda encontrar fácilmente en la web y que además permita discutir en línea ya sea a través de comentarios, wikis, etc. Obviamente incluye leer la propuesta, contrastarla, leer entre líneas, comentarla y discutirla.

Work proposal. His proposal must not be hidden behind his party or movement. It must be easily found on the web and must also allow for discussion online, through comments, wikis, etc. Of course, this includes reading the proposals, contrasting, reading between the lines, commenting and discussing.

The third and final parameter Carlos suggests is to reflect and think about the management ability of the candidates to implement their electoral propositions:

Capacidad de ejecutar esa propuesta. Que no se quede en el papel, que no haya duda de su tenacidad de ser un ejecutor cuando gane las elecciones, donde su verdadero liderazgo para lograr equipo quede de manifiesto en resultados.

The ability to carry out their propositions. That it's not just going to be on paper, that there's no doubt he will have the tenacity to be an implementer when he wins the election, where his true leadership to achieve results will be clearly seen.

Other bloggers have concentrated their analyses on specific issues the candidates have talked about. In the blog Realidad Ecuador [es], for example, Juan Pablo Martínez [es] and Héctor Yépez Martínez [es] wrote two posts about the debate between the presidential candidates [es] regarding the Human Development Bonus [es], a government subsidy which has been amended several times since its implementation in 1998.

On YouTube, ExpresoTV shares the video “What do the universities want from the government?” [es]

Los universitarios piden al nuevo Gobierno de Ecuador; seguridad, salud, mejor educación, trabajo, más tecnología y mejor infraestructura en las universidades.

University students ask the new leader of Ecuador for: security, health, better education, work, more technology and better infrastructure for the universities.

On the other hand, in the entry El Ecuador que soñamos [es] (“The Ecuador We Dream About”), the Quechua blogger and activist Raúl Amaguaña [es] criticizes the Ecuadorian elections:

En tiempo de elecciones, ofrecimientos vienen y ofrecimientos van. Las ofertas de campaña de los candidatos, intrascendentes y simples, juegan con las  aspiraciones de los más humildes y se moldean de acuerdo al grado de educación de sus electores. Subir el bono de la pobreza, mantener el bono fachoso del gas y otros tantos, tuercen a la democracia ecuatoriana a una especie [de] bonocracia. Siempre ha sido fácil comprar los votos por licor o por unas cuantas monedas. ¿Y el país qué? [...] En este camino, mentirán, vomitarán vejámenes sin importar que sean sus propios hermanos. Este es el Ecuador real de carne y hueso, pequeño e ilusorio.

During elections, offers come and go. Campaign promises by candidates, inconsequential and simple, play with the aspirations of the most humble and they are formed depending on the degree of education of their constituents. Raise the poverty bonus, keep the crappy gas bonus and many others, twist the Ecuadorian democracy into a kind of ‘bonusocracy’. It's always been easy to buy votes with liquor and a few coins. And what of the country? [...] This way, they lie, they vomit humiliations without taking into account these are their own brothers. This is the real Ecuador of flesh and blood, small and illusory.

Raul ends by sharing his wish to have a free, democratic and thriving country for all its people:

El Ecuador que soñamos es un país de diversidades fraternas, un país de instituciones sólidas y efectivas, un país democrático y libre. Soñamos un país donde las funciones del Estado sean independientes y profesionales, un Ecuador en donde la función judicial no tenga ataduras de ningún tipo, un país en donde se respete la libertad de opinión venga de donde venga. Un país donde el gobernante gobierne para todos los sectores, para todas las culturas, sin pesadez ni condiciones.

The Ecuador we dream of is a country of diverse fraternities, a country of strong and effective institutions, a free and democratic country. We dream of a country where state functions are independent and professional, an Ecuador where the judiciary has no ties of any kind, a country where freedom of speech is respected wherever it comes from. A country where the government governs for everybody, across cultures, without heaviness or conditions.

Follow more reports and reactions under the hashtag #EleccionesEc [es] en Twitter.

You can also join the Facebook page Elector Ecuador [es], a citizen initiative that informs voters about the candidates for 2013. Elector Ecuador is also on Twitter (@ElectorEcuador).

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