Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso Monday admitted defeat in Sunday's referendum through which he intended to garner enough consensus for the remainder of his term after 18 months in office. Citizens were asked, among other issues, to decide whether national offenders could be extradited abroad to face drug-trafficking charges. Lasso favored the idea, a slim majority did not with 47% of the votes counted.
I accept that the majority does not agree that those issues are resolved with the tools put to consideration in the referendum, Lasso said in a radio and television statement. The former right-wing banker had called for a broad and serious debate, without dogmas or ideologies, about how to confront the threat that drug trafficking and its links with political sectors represent today.
In addition to losing the referendum, the opposition leftwing Citizen Revolution party of former President Rafael Correa (2007-2017) won the mayoralties of Quito and Guayaquil, also at stake last Sunday. Correa, who has been sentenced in 2020 to eight years in prison for corruption, had called from his Belgium exile to vote against Lasso's proposals.
In the key question on extradition, the Nays obtained 51% of the valid votes against 49% of the Yes, according to preliminary results released by the National Electoral Council (CNE), thus contradicting a Cedatos poll from the previous week whereby 66% of Ecuadorians were in favor of extradition.
In addition to the referendum, Ecuadorians elected some 5,700 local authorities in a process marked by the violence which plagues the country due to drug trafficking and which left two mayoral candidates dead. Correism won at least seven of the 23 provincial prefectures, including those of Guayas and Pichincha. It also won the mayoralties of Quito and Guayaquil, the port that for 30 years was a right-wing stronghold.
Although we continue to believe in the axes of this consultation, it is also true that the future welfare of Ecuador did not and does not depend exclusively on it, said Lasso, who barring any unforeseen event will rule the South American country until 2025.
Correist candidates won the strategic mayoralties of Quito and Guayaquil, in addition to the prefectures of seven of the country's most populated provinces. Sunday's regional and municipal elections, which still do not have a definitive result, are seen as a projection for the 2025 presidential elections.
According to official data from the National Electoral Council (CNE), Pabel Muñoz triumphed with 25.2% of the votes for mayor of Quito, while in Guayaquil, with 93.6% of the votes counted, Aquiles Álvarez received 39.7% of the votes. The results in Guayaquil, Ecuador's economic center, represent a hard blow for the right-wing Social Christian party, which had been in the municipal administration for 31 years. The candidates of Revolución Ciudadana also took the lead in some of Ecuador's most populated provinces. Thus, in Pichincha, with the total number of votes counted, Paola Pabón obtained 27.9% of the votes, while in Guayas, with 93.2% counted, Marcela Aguinaga consolidated first place with 34.4%.
With these results, Ecuador's bonds posted the biggest declines in emerging markets, with securities maturing in 2030 sinking more than 7 cents on the dollar to 62.3 cents, the biggest single-day drop since they were issued in 2020.
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