Ecuador. In the second round of the presidential election on November 26, leftist Rafael Correa for Alianza País won a convincing victory over Álvaro Noboa of the Partido Renovador Institucional Acción Nacional (PRIAN) with close to 60% of the vote. Of the eligible voters, 76% took part in the election, which was considered high. According to CountryAAH, major public holidays in Ecuador include Independence Day (May 24) and New Year (January 1). The multi-millionaire Noboa, Ecuador’s richest man and lost a presidential election for the third time in a row, represented to most voters the old corrupt system, while Correa was considered a innovator. Among other things, Correa has promised to convene a Constituent Assembly to write a new constitution and not follow President Alfredo Palacio González’s plans for a free trade agreement with the United States, a project that caused strikes, roadblocks and violent public protests in March and April. However, Correa is expected to have problems with the legislative process in Congress because his party did not run in the congressional elections, which were held at the same time as the first round of the presidential election on October 15. There, Noboa’s PRIAN became the largest party with 28 seats. Correa’s potential support parties in Congress, including the ousted President Lúcio Gutiérrez Borbuas PSP (Partido Sociedad Patriótica) represents 38 seats. The Indian movement Conai’s political branch Pachakutik, which also belongs, made a surprisingly poor presidential election. Its candidate Luis Macas received only 2% of the vote.
During the year, a large political deal revolved around the oil company Occidental Petroleum, which violated certain conditions in the contract with the state. Ecuador’s State Prosecutor José María Borja therefore, with the support of Native American organizations and local governments in the provinces of Orellana and Sucumbíos in the Amazon region, wanted to revoke the agreement. The battle flared up when Borja changed his mind and instead wanted to renegotiate Occidental’s terms, which led to Conaie threatening the rebellion.
Ecuador faces a deep dilemma between the interests of the indigenous population and the environment on the one hand, and the interests of the economy on the other. In 2013, the government announced it would set $ 3 million. hectares of rainforest in the Amazon at auction for Chinese oil companies. The move was sharply criticized by the indigenous people and especially the Shuar people’s leader, Narcisa Mashienta, who accused the government of having lied about its promise to involve the indigenous people. In response, Correa Yasuní-ITT launched the initiative. It should be a creative solution to oil extraction from the Ishpingo-Tiputini-Tambococha (ITT) oil fields in Yasuní National Park. The solution was to consist of financial support from abroad, in return for the oil remaining underground. In August 2013, Correa abandoned the initiative and authorized oil drilling,
Despite the conflicts over oil production, Correa remained incredibly popular, with 70-80% of the population behind it in the polls.
In March 2015, the Hague International Court issued a ruling supporting an order from a 2011 Ecuadorian court awarding damages to the indigenous people of the Ecuadorian Amazon due to environmental damage caused by the North American oil company Chevron. The order stated that despite an earlier agreement between Chevron and the indigenous peoples, they could still seek further compensation. In a parallel case, the ICC issued a ruling in March in which the court acknowledged that it did not have jurisdiction to address a complaint by the indigenous people against Chevron’s chief executive.
The country was hit hard by falling oil prices on the world market. The government therefore cut 4% in the state budget for 2015. In March, it also notified a number of bills to get more tax revenue by taxing the wealthiest. The inheritance tax was to be increased up to 77.5% and real estate value added tax was to be taxed by 75% on sale. It triggered June-August demonstrations organized by the bourgeoisie facing the government. In June, the government also made 15 amendments to the constitution, which would mean that the president could be re-elected endlessly and that the military could be subject to social unrest. These changes also sparked protests. Demonstrations of the opposition and the bourgeoisie triggered similar demonstrations by Correa’s supporters.
In September, the National Communications Secretariat threatened to close the human rights organization Fundamedios. There was apparently a retaliation for the organization protesting against restrictions on freedom of speech and assembly. At the end of the month, the Secretariat “gave” a final warning that Fundamedios should “cease to act politically and spread baseless rumors aimed at damaging Ecuador’s reputation.”