On the 23 February there are local elections across Ecuador – for regional ‘Prefects’ & deputies, town mayors, and town & parish councillors. Over 5000 positions are up for election, and the elections themselves are a part of the constitutional changes introduced at the end of the last decade by El Presidente Correa and his Alianza Pais party.
The pic of this rally in Canoa on 13 February was taken just after it started around 6.15pm. It was a rally by the Avanza party, who are one of several opposition parties on the centre-right, along with the likes of Creating Opportunities (CREO), who have policies similar to the UK’s Tory Party, and also use the colour blue. They bussed in a lot of supporters to this rally in Canoa’s main square, perhaps up to 400 people (Canoa has a population of approx 6000). Avanza had been out and about all day, handing out flags, t-shirts and posters. They erected a large double stack of speakers and decorated the stage. Music, then speakers, then music again, blared out until after 10pm, and El Presidente was given a right slagging off!
Two days before in the same square, Correa’s lot had held a rally too, bringing about 200 people together in a much less glamorous event. We have no pics of that, but the wall mural promoting a Correa-backed candidate (Pais 35-65) in Puerto Lopez was typical of such murals we have seen across Ecuador.
Indeed compared to the UK the interest in these elections seems enormous. In every town/village we have seen many, many flags/posters/murals, as well as small groups of supporters going walkabout with banners & flags. In many ways these elections are seen as a referendum on Correa’s re-election a year ago, and it is clear national issues dominate over local ones – although that has not stopped countless smaller parties standing candidates focusing on local issues, such as water availability, sewage systems, education, jobs, indigenous rights etc. For the record, Correa’s supporters hold 100 out of 137 seats in the National Assembly, a large majority!
Of course, the distrust in politicians is an international trend, and for good reasons too. Many local mayors here are seen as being out to line their own pockets, and our last pic demonstrates this sentiment.
More info: http://www.eleccionesenecuador.com