Ecuador’s main left-wing candidate cannot vote in poll

QUITO (AFP) – The main left-wing candidate in today’s presidential election in Ecuador, the economist Andres Arauz, will not be able to vote in his own country because his residence is registered as being in Mexico, where he normally lives, the electoral authorities said on Friday.

“He cannot (vote), he could only do it in Mexico” at the Ecuadoran consulate, vice president of the National Electoral Council (CNE) Enrique Pita told AFP. Another CNE adviser, Jose Cabrera, confirmed that since Arauz “is registered in Mexico, he cannot vote in Ecuador”.

Even though voting is compulsory in Ecuador for people aged between 18 and 65, it is optional for those living abroad, so he will not have committed any offence, the officials said.

Before presenting his candidacy in August, Arauz, an ex-minister under former president Rafael Correa (2007-2017), lived in Mexico where he was completing a doctorate at the National Autonomous University (Unam).

So in his case, the “vote is optional, he doesn’t have to vote”, Pita confirmed.

Alongside right-wing former banker Guillermo Lasso and left-wing indigenous leader Yaku Perez, Arauz is leading in the polls – among a record number of 16 candidates – to succeed President Lenin Moreno, who is not running for re-election and will complete his four-year term on May 24.

Ecuadorean presidential candidate for Union por la Esperanza party Andres Arauz gestures during a rally in Quito. PHOTO: AFP