Ecuador's presidential front-runner says the country is facing a "double crisis" of COVID-19 and austerity. "We need a renewal in our politics," Andrés Arauz tells Democracy Now! The left-wing economist secured nearly 33% of the vote in the first round of Ecuador's presidential election on February 7 but fell short of the 40% needed to win outright.
He will face right-wing banker Guillermo Lasso or Indigenous candidate Yaku Pérez in a runoff election on April 11, depending on the results of a recount after both candidates secured just over 19% of the vote. Arauz has pledged to end austerity measures imposed by Ecuador's outgoing right-wing President Lenín Moreno and is close to former President Rafael Correa, who led the country from 2007 to 2017 and has been credited with lifting over a million Ecuadorians out of poverty.
Arauz served in Correa's administration as director of the Central Bank and later as a minister. Arauz says he would seek to work with the Biden administration, if elected, and rejects attempts to interfere in Latin American affairs.
"We need to talk about peace, democracy, development as the key issues in Latin America," says Arauz. "We do not want foreign interference in our region. … We hope the Biden administration will stay away from trying to create division within the region."
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