Win for rainforest in Ecuador elections


After a snap election in Ecuador Aug. 21, left-populist Luisa González and millennial businessman Daniel Noboa are headed to a runoff in October. Both are seen as political successors: Frontrunner González is a protegé of exiled former president Rafael Correa. Second-placing Noboa is the son of banana magnate and five-time conservative presidential candidate Alvaro Noboa. Placing third was Christian Zurita—whose name was not on the ballot, but who replaced the assassinated anti-corruption candidate Fernando Villavicencio. (PRI, NPR, Al Jazeera)

Also on the ballot, and winning 60% support, was a measure to permanently bar oil drilling from YasunĂ­ National Park, a world biodiversity hotspot in the Ecuadoran Amazon. Parastatal PetroEcuador must now halt extraction at Bloc 43, which lies near the heart of the reserve. The bloc currently has 12 oil platforms and 230 wells producing some 57,000 barrels of oil per day. The measure was placed on the ballot thanks to a signature drive by activist group Yasunidos, which spent years fighting for the validity of collected signatures in Ecuador’s courts.

Likewise approved by a wide margin was a referendum on halting copper, gold and silver mining activity in the ChocĂł Andino de Pichincha, a biosphere reserve outside of Quito. (Mongabay, Al Jazeera, The Hill)

The election was called after President Guillermo Lasso, a conservative former banker, dissolved the National Assembly by decree in May, evidently to avoid being impeached over corruption in the state oil sector. The winner of the Oct. 15 runoff will govern only for the remainder of Lasso’s unfinished term, meaning less than two years. (AP)

Image: Wikimedia Commons