Wealthy ex-banker campaigns as Ecuador’s ‘change candidate’

Venezuela takes tentative steps towards market reform
11 Jan 2021
Tensions rise in Ecuador as election results roll in
11 Feb 2021

Guillermo Lasso favoured by investors but may struggle to win over voters amid crisis

Gideon Long in Bogotá and Michael Stott in London

Guillermo Lasso’s promises for Ecuador’s coronavirus-stricken economy might seem extravagant, particularly from a former banker: to create 2m new jobs and balance the budget in four years while cutting taxes.

But as Ecuador’s presidential election on Sunday polarises into a two-horse race between Mr Lasso on the right and rival Andrés Arauz on the left, both leading candidates are making increasingly grand promises to woo an electorate battered by high unemployment and growing poverty.

At stake for investors is the future of a freshly signed IMF agreement, the recent restructuring of $17.4bn of bondholder debt, and one of the larger oil industries in Latin America, a sector Mr Lasso wants to double in size to help balance the government’s books.