With less than two weeks before the run-off election, Ecuador’s presidential candidates Luisa González and Daniel Noboa faced each other in the final debate on Sunday night. The leftist González and the centrist Noboa discussed their plans to tackle the country’s main challenges, such as the struggling economy, the rising crime rates, and the political instability.
The debate, which was held in Quito, the capital city, gave both candidates a chance to present their proposals and contrast their visions for the future of Ecuador. González, a lawyer and former ally of ex-president Rafael Correa, promised to boost social spending and increase oil production. She also reiterated her intention to use $2.5 billion of the country’s international reserves to stimulate the economy and create jobs. She said she would eliminate some tax benefits for the wealthy and invest in public health and education.
Noboa, a young businessman and political newcomer, advocated for a more market-friendly approach. He said he would promote private investment in key sectors such as electricity and oil refining. He also proposed incentives for companies that hire young people and support for small and medium enterprises. He clarified that his previous idea of using $1.5 billion of the reserves was only a last resort option in case of an emergency.
Both candidates agreed on the need to improve security in Ecuador, which has seen a surge in violent crime and drug trafficking in recent years. They pledged to strengthen the police and military forces, as well as to seek international cooperation to combat organized crime. Noboa suggested creating floating prisons for the most dangerous criminals, while González said she would regain control of the territory that has been taken by criminal groups.
The debate was the last opportunity for the candidates to sway undecided voters before the election on October 15. The winner will only serve for the remainder of Guillermo Lasso’s term, until 2025. Lasso, who was elected in 2017, dissolved the national assembly in May to avoid an impeachment process and triggered early elections. The next president will face a divided congress and a polarized society.