Ecuador’s indigenous party gains legislative clout


Anti-mining activist and indigenous leader Yaku Pérez, shown waving, failed to make Ecuador’s presidential runoff but ran a strong campaign, finishing third in the first-round field of 16. (Photo courtesy of Pérez campaign)

Following his upset win in Ecuador’s presidential runoff on April 11, businessman Guillermo Lasso will have his hands full boosting economic activity while addressing the public-health calamity caused by the spread of Covid-19. Largely because of the pandemic, economic activity last year contracted 7.8% in Ecuador, which is also saddled with US$64 billion in public debt, representing 63% of GDP. While Lasso will likely want to step up exploitation of Ecuador’s abundant oil and mineral resources, this path could prove harder than in the past. That’s partly because in legislative elections held in February, indigenous Ecuadorians scored historic gains, acquiring new leverage in their push to block further extractive projects such as oil drilling and mining on their traditional lands. The Feb. 7 contest included a first round of presidential balloting and elections for all 137 seats in Ecuador’s unicameral National Assembly. Pachakutik, the political arm of... [Log in to read more]

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