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Mayoral Elections in Ecuador: Setback for the Government?

As the first unofficial results for the local elections in Ecuador came in, it appeared that the ruling party, PAIS Alliance, had suffered a defeat, losing the races for mayor in at least the country's two major cities [es]. In Quito, the capital, Mauricio Rodas [es] of the SUMA-Vive party beat the PAIS Alliance incumbent, Augusto Barrera, by almost twenty percent of the vote. In Guayaquil, the largest city, current mayor Jaime Nebot will be entering his fourth term in office, having beaten PAIS Alliance candidate Viviana Bonila [es] by twenty-three percent.

Graph of a Market exit poll for the Quito and Guayaquil mayoral elections

Further results confirmed and compounded the government's loss. PAIS Alliance's mayoral candidates were rejected by voters in all of Ecuador's five largest cities [es] — Guayaquil, Quito, Cuenca, Manta, and Santo Domingo — not to speak of their defeats in smaller municipalities.

Twitter was alight with reflections on the reasons for PAIS Alliance's loss:

AP [abbreviation for Alianza PAIS or PAIS Alliance] lost because they made its ministers, Assembly members and acolytes criticize and confront citizens for thinking differently.

Quito hasn't lost anything… It's gaining a space free from the sort of dirty politics that AP practices… Remember that.

Update: AP has lost Guayaquil, Quito, Cuenca, Machala, Manta, Portoviejo, Loja, Duran, Milagro and Ambato. A slap to their pride.

Big lessons for Rafael Correa [president of Ecuador]: (1) You aren't invincible, (2) Publicity isn't everything, (3) Arrogance is a bad thing, (4) Don't forget about the patria chica [home regions or hometowns]

Although shortly before the elections President Correa could boast a high approval rating [es], it seems that his personal involvement in the campaign, especially in Quito, had a counterproductive effect.

Correa accepted [es] the results and declared [es] to the newspaper El Comercio that three errors had been committed in the campaign: “First, being associated with poorly performing municipal administrations; second, the form that campaigning took on as the race progressed; and third, the sectarianism of government attitudes.”

But not everyone agreed on Twitter:

President Rafael Correa identified three mistakes in Quito: with the mayoralty, with the campaign, and with the sectarian attitude. And what about his intervention?

Lessons for Correa: 1. Likeability and votes can't always be bestowed by endorsement. 2. Errors are expensive. 3. The people deal out punishment with the ballot box.

However, PAIS Alliance didn't lose everywhere. In the elections for provincial prefects, for example, PAIS Alliance won eleven prefectures [es] out of twenty-three, two more than at the last elections in 2009. There is still not complete data on the winners of all mayoral races in Ecuador, but it is expected [es] that PAIS Alliance will end up with the highest share of mayors in the country.

Here's how the tally is progressing for the prefectures

The elections generally unfolded quite tranquilly, excepting a few scattered incidents [es]. The National Electoral Council's problems with its rapid counting system [es] and with the updating of election data caused frustration, as these issues impeded the calculation and publication of accurate results for cities across the country.

No data from the rapid counting system

Twitter user Elector Ecuador noted that on election day a hashtag related to PAIS Alliance had been “promoted” on Twitter, in other words that the party paid for more visibility on the site. However, this apparently does not constitute a violation of the electoral code.

On election day, @35Pais promoted the Twitter hashtag #TodoTodito35 

Mauricio Rodas, mayor-elect of Quito, will take office May 14.

Mauricio Rodas: “Today the big winner is democracy”

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