Cablegate: Ecuador Election: Then There Were Seventeen
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ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 162114Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY QUITO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5059
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 5877
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1933
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ AUG 0011
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 0857
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL PRIORITY 0983
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
UNCLAS QUITO 002064
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM EC
SUBJECT: ECUADOR ELECTION: THEN THERE WERE SEVENTEEN
1. (SBU) Summary. The registration period for all
candidates running for office in October 15 elections closed
on August 15, attracting an unprecedented seventeen
presidential aspirants. Eccentric billionaire candidate
Alvaro Noboa announced his reentry, oddly declaring himself
"a hero of God who will slay his cowardly adversaries."
Meanwhile, PAIS movement candidate Rafael Correa has taken
some heat for not entering congressional candidates, pledging
instead to immediately convoke a constituent assembly to
change the constitution. The proliferation of presidential
candidates will make elections more complicated to administer
and ensure continued political fragmentation. End Summary.
Seventeen Presidential Candidates Registered
2. (U) Seventeen presidential candidates, with a
disproportionate number of the major contenders hailing from
Guayaquil, have now registered (up from 11 in 2002, and only
six in 1998), including eccentric billionaire Alvaro Noboa,
who reentered the race at the last minute and told the press
that he felt obligated as a centrist to offer a
non-traditional candidacy in opposition to Rafael Correa.
Going further, Noboa claimed to be a religious hero and with
the bible in hand would beat his cowardly adversaries.
Current registered candidates, in rough descending order of
popularity according to recent polls, include:
1. Leon Roldos (24%), RED/Democratic Left Alliance (RED/ID)
Movement. VP Ramiro Gonzalez (ID)
2. Cynthia Viteri (17%), Social Christian Party (PSC). VP
3. Rafael Correa (10%), PAIS Alliance (PAIS) Movement. VP
4. Alvaro Noboa (10%). Institutional Renewal Party of
National Action (PRIAN VP Vincente Taiano.
5. Fernando Rosero (3%), Ecuadorian Roldosista Party (PRE).
VP Susy Mendoza.
6. Gilmar Gutierrez (n/a), Patriotic Society Party (PSP).
VP Leonardo Escobar.
7. Jaime Damerval (1%), Concentration of People's Forces
(CFP) Party. VP Lida Moreno.
8. Luis Macas (1%), Pluri-National Pachakutik United
Movement (PK). VP Cesar Sacoto.
9. Luis Villacis (1%), Democratic People's Movement (MPD).
VP Cesar Buelva.
10. Marco Proano Maya (1%), Movement for Democratic
Vindication (MRD). VP Galo Cabanilla.
11. Marcelo Aguinaga (n/a), National Conciliation Movement
(MCN). VP Jorge Norero.
12. Marcelo Larrea (n/a), Third Republic Bolivarian Allianca
Movement (ALBA). VP Miguel Moran.
13. Franklin Munoz (n/a), National Movement to Wake Up
Citizens, (MNDC). VP Luis Burgos.
14. Pedro Roura O. (n/a), Pacific Revolution (MRP). VP
15. Carlos Sagnay (n/a), The Eclectic Movement (ME). VP
16. Lenin Torres (n/a), Revolutionary Movement of Popular
Participation (MRPP). VP Maria Pareja.
7. Julio Pincay (n/a), Ecuadorian Independent Patriotic
Movement (MIPE). VP Glenda Garcia.
Correa Criticized as Aspiring "Dictator"
3. (U) PAIS presidential candidate Rafael Correa did not
register congressional candidates under the PAIS movement
banner, saying to do so would only contribute to the
institutional crisis. PSC leader Leon Febres Cordero (LFC)
publicly criticized Correa's decision as undemocratic:
"Correa says that he will run for president, but not with a
list of congressional representatives. Doesn't that mean he
is running for dictator?" Congress President Wilfredo Lucero
(ID) chimed in publicly, repeating the same charge on August
14, adding that to expect the new Congress to approve a
constituent assembly dissolving itself was ludicrous. Any
such assembly implies constitutional changes, requiring the
support of a 2/3 majority in Congress. Furthermore, he said,
members of any assembly would "not be any more qualified or
representative, and perhaps less so" than the newly-elected
Congress. While PAIS is not offering congressional
candidates, the Socialist party which is supporting Correa,s
presidential bid is.
Congressional Lists Run Gamut
4. (U) LFC heads the PSC Congressional list in Guayas, the
PSC heartland and province with the largest population, and
will certainly be re-elected, despite not appearing
personally in Congress for years, for health reasons. The
PSC hopes to win 12 representatives in Guayas and between
26-28 in the country. PSC presidential candidate Cynthia
Viteri's sister, Natalie, is second on the Guayas list.
Meanwhile, the Red/Democratic Left Alliance (ID) had great
difficulty agreeing on a coordinated division of candidates
in Guayas, fueling allegations of divisions within the
alliance. The alliance therefore agreed to run separate
congressional lists in Guayas, while Wilma Andrade and Andres
Paez top the ID/RED list in Pichincha. The PRIAN list in
Guayas is headed by Alvaro Noboa's wife, Anabella Azin, with
two other women, Silka Sanchez and Gloria Gallardo, filling
out the top three spots.
5. (U) Four parties on August 15 also registered candidates
for the Andean Parliament. The PSC nominated former
congressman Marcelo Dotti, while the Democratic Christian
Union (UDC) selected former president Sixto Duran Ballen and
Elsa de Mena, ex-director of Ecuador's Social Security
Administration. PRIAN chose Hector Solorzano, Bucaram's
former private attorney. Roldos' ID-RED, meanwhile put up
its national president, Guillermo Landazuri, for the
Parliament. Former trade minister and Ecuadorian ambassador
to the U.S., Ivonne Baki, was nominated by the PSP.
6. (SBU) Noboa's re-entry into the race will alter the
status of forces. Though he left the race a month ago with
only 10% support, the relative weakness of the PRE candidate
and the TSE's likelihood of ruling out the Gutierrez ticket
on technicalities could allow Noboa to rise to challenge
Viteri for second place. Regardless, administering this
election with five different races, innumerable candidates
and now 17 presidential contenders will challenge the TSE,
making USG election support all the more critical. Adding a
15-question referendum, as proposed by President Palacio,
would make it all but unmanageable.