Ecuador Internacional

Economic Freedom the Biggest Loser in Ecuador’s Election

The Daily Signal - James M. Roberts 10/04/2017

Photo: The Daily Signal

Photo: The Daily Signal

Last Sunday, economic freedom and sound governance took a hit in Ecuador.

Lenín Moreno, the nation’s former vice president and socialist candidate, won by a narrow margin amid widespread charges of electoral fraud. The outcome all but secures a fourth consecutive term for outgoing President Rafael Correa’s socialist Alianza Pais party.

Ecuadorian law prevented Correa from seeking another term, but constitutional changes he made while in office mean that he would be eligible to succeed Moreno in 2021.

The Wall Street Journal reported that last-minute infrastructure spending announced by Correa on schools and hospitals might have been enough to put Moreno over the top.

Opposition candidate Guillermo Lasso has vowed to contest the outcome of the election. According to John Fund of National Review, Lasso will “challenge the results in all of Ecuador’s 24 provinces.”

Lasso’s loss is bad news for conservatives hoping the center-right tide in Latin America that has already swept away authoritarian leftists in Argentina and Brazil would extend to Ecuador, a country deeply influenced by Hugo Chavez’s “21st century socialism.”

As big a loss as this was for Lasso, the biggest loser is economic freedom in Ecuador. The country’s scores in The Heritage Foundation’s annual Index of Economic Freedom plummeted during the last decade.

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