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Cablegate: Elections Update: Candidate Position Profile

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SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL EC
SUBJECT: ELECTIONS UPDATE: CANDIDATE POSITION PROFILE


1. (U) Summary: In Ecuador,s presidential race, only two
of the four front runners have concrete political platforms.
Leon Roldos and Rafael Correa present well-defined stances on
the issues. Correa,s stance is particularly anti-U.S.
Cynthia Viteri and the PRIAN/PRI alliance have not yet
defined clearly their positions on many issues. Roldos and
Correa would not renew the FOL-Manta agreement after 2009.
Viteri leaves open the possibility for renegotiation after
2009, perhaps as leverage in FTA negotiations. End Summary.

RED-ID: Leon Roldos)No ATPDEA, No FOL (23-29% in Polls)
--------------------------------------------- ----------

2. (U) Center-left candidate Leon Roldos (RED-ID) has a well
developed website with an eight-page platform that is
balanced with aspirational language and specific
prescriptions. On external debt, Roldos would continue
paying but not increase the level of the overall debt. He
proposes to deposit debt service money into a fund, inviting
creditors to pick a range of social programs using the fund
as a way of paying off the debt. He has an eight point plan
to arrive at his goal of 6% economic growth each year.

3. (U) While Roldos remains open to international trade
agreements, especially regional, he would put any FTA with
the U.S. to a plebiscite. Roldos says that he would not
renew the Manta FOL agreement after it expires in 2009.
Going further in a recent interview, however, Rolodos said
that if the U.S. Congress fails to renew trade preferences
(ATPDEA) set to expire in December 2006, the GOE should shut
down the FOL. Finally, Roldos says he would demand
indemnification from the U.S. and Colombia for the supposed
effects of Plan Colombia, including expensive troop
mobilization to the border, health and property losses, and
refugee integration and repatriation.

4. (U) An interesting and unique feature of his campaign
documents is the emphasis on the Ecuadorian migrant vote --
eligible to vote in these elections for the first time. His
website has a prominent tab on the home page for migrants,
explaining how they can vote outside of Ecuador. His
platform includes a section on migrants, guaranteeing voting
rights and establishing a government bureau within the
Presidency to define migrant policy. The other campaigns
mention migrant issues but do not focus with the same depth
and emphasis of the Roldos campaign.

PSC: Cynthia Viteri,s Views Unclear (16-17% in Polls)
--------------------------------------------- --------

5. (U) Center-right candidate Cynthia Viteri,s (PSC)
campaign platform lacks substance and direction. On her
website, Viteri outlines her positions in blurbs of two or
three sentences on the frequently asked questions link. She
fails to take a specific position on FTA, saying she would
have negotiated better but is not opposed to the &opening of
the world.8 On oil policy, she calls for an investigation
of all oil contracts and the percentages and prices
negotiated at the time of the contract. If the contract
allows caducity as a remedy for breach, it should be applied.

6. (U) Viteri promises to pay Ecuador,s external debt but
draws an analogy between Ecuador,s situation and what &we
housewives8 would do: if the choice is between paying debt
and eating, housewives will choose to pay for food. Viteri
does not mention any specific ideas on Colombian relations
other than pointing out the high cost of Ecuador,s military
mobilization, supposed health effects of glyphosate spraying,
and the social effects of Columbian refugees. Viteri, in a
recent press interview, said she would honor the Manta FOL
agreement until it expires in 2009, and would only
renegotiate if it benefits Ecuador. She also expressed
interest in a possible return to FTA talks.

7. (U) Although flashy and full of high-quality photos,
Viteri,s website fails to address any substantive issues.
Links for her &Work Plan8 reveal empty pages in the
categories of Economy, Work, Education, Security,
Environment, and Health. Similarly, the &News8 link is
also blank.


Correa,s Anti-American Plan No Surprise (11% in Polls)
--------------------------------------------- ---------

8. (U) Far-left presidential candidate Rafael Correa
(Leftist PAIS) presents the most voluminous prescription for
government in his 44-paged, rhetoric filled manifesto. The
document is littered with phrases and words such as &radical
change8 and &revolution8 to emphasize its sweeping nature,
and proposes a constitutional convention to overhaul the
central government.

9. (U) Aside from the rhetoric, Correa,s views are very
predictable. If elected, he would neither negotiate nor sign
an FTA, calls for the integration of Latin America, and
associates himself with Chavez, Morales, Kirchner, Lula da
Silva, Vasquez, and Bachelet ) all of whom he claims were
elected as backlash to the Washington Consensus. Garcia and
Uribe are noticeably absent from Correa,s grand South
America affinity.

10. (U) Correa calls for energy integration in the region,
particularly with Venezuela. If elected, he says he would go
further than the current changes to Ecuador,s Hydrocarbons
Law by &redistributing8 all petroleum profits using as a
point of reference Texaco,s margins in the 70s and 80s. He
would embark on land reform, review all electrical supply
contracts, obligate all pharmacies and hospitals to offer
generic drugs, refuse any international arbitration in any
area, strengthen state business organizations like
Petroecuador, and impose a moratorium on oil drilling in the
Amazon.

11. (U) With respect to external debt, Correa says that his
administration would never accept any conditions for
additional debt and never pay more for debt service than what
the budget disburses for social programs or national defense.
Finally, on the Manta FOL, he says he would not tolerate any
foreign soldiers on Ecuadorian soil, but would allow the
agreement to run its course until 2009.

PRIAN/PSP Reprise
-----------------

12. (U) The alliance between the PRIAN and PSP has yet to
produce a candidate. It represents an interesting twist
reminiscent of the two parties, alliance in early 2005
attempting to salvage the Gutierrez presidency,s
governability. In the realm of ideas, both parties have yet
to formalize much of a platform. Gutierrez,s personal
website has a bulleted list of vague promises under three
headings and the PRIAN webpage is similarly vague. The PSP
website is mostly populist rhetoric with few specific plans
for government. It does specify dollarization and the Manta
FOL as two grave violations of national sovereignty.
Noboa,s personal website has an extensive platform focusing
mostly on social issues. While not mentioning Manta or
Colombia policy, it specifies that any FTA negotiated with
the U.S. must protect Ecuadorian agriculture.

13. (SBU) Gutierrez and Noboa have not made many public
pronouncements on any substantive issues of interest to the
U.S. Gutierrez has concentrated mostly on his struggle in
the courts to be an eligible candidate. Similarly, Noboa has
been focusing on whether to run. Privately, PRIAN deputy
Vicente Taiano assured PolOffs that his party lamented the
failure of the FTA, the expulsion of Occidental Petroleum,
and was generally aligned with the U.S. on all major issues.
Gutierrez, whose government launched the FTA talks, has
privately expressed similar views to us.

Comment
-------

14. (SBU) All eyes are on the PRIAN/PSP alliance. As these
two parties focus on personalities and populism, they may not
come out with a precise political platform. Viteri seems to
be remaining vague on the issues so that she can maximize
freedom in her increasingly nervous search for a vice
presidential candidate, minimize undecided voter alienation,
and keep her charisma more than anything else at the fore.
Roldos and Correa are already well defined on the issues. In
the next two weeks there will be three things to watch:
whether Viteri is successful finding a credible vice
presidential candidate; any movement in undecided voters;
and, whether the PRIAN/PSP names strong candidates by August
15.
BROWN

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