Ecuador: presidential election amid rising political violence
Category: News - Author: NSSG
Central and South America will hold multiple elections over the coming weeks and months, with uncertain results and expected allegations of fraud. Ecuador will head to a runoff election on 15 October, while Argentina's presidential elections will occur the following week, where a leftist populist is now the frontrunner. Colombia's regional elections are scheduled for 29 October, in which 32 governors and over 1000 mayors will be elected.
In Ecuador, on Sunday, 20 August, Luisa González, a known leftist face and Daniel Noboa, a newcomer businessman, secured the top two spots in the presidential election following a campaign cycle centring on voters' frustration with the country's soaring gang and drug cartel violence. Going into the runoff, Ecuador's economy and security will likely be the leading societal issues. In fact, over the past two years, the security situation has broadly deteriorated, and reports of beheadings, car bombs, and even police assassinations have multiplied. Three politicians, including a presidential candidate, were killed in the lead-up to Sunday's vote. The country's murder rate shot up 245% between 2020 and 2022.
Ecuador, a country of 18 million people, was once seen as a peaceful haven compared to neighbouring Colombia. In fact, for decades, Colombia was plagued by violence from armed guerrilla groups, paramilitary organizations, and drug cartels. However, as Colombia has made progress in its peace process in recent years, the drug trafficking industry has grown increasingly powerful in Ecuador. Considering the broad deterioration of security in Ecuador, companies operating in the country should reconsider their physical security systems accordingly with the recent developments. In particular, top executives responsible for their organisations' "duty of care" requirements could be apprehensive as kidnappings have increased and professional hitmen cases have multiplied.