QUITO (Reuters) – Leftist candidate Luisa Gonzalez and her surprise challenger Daniel Noboa beat out six other rivals in a first round of voting in Ecuador’s presidential race on Sunday, in a contest clouded by the murder of anti-corruption candidate Fernando Villavicencio.
Gonzalez had about 33% of the vote and Noboa was tallying 24% with more than 70% of ballot boxes counted. The two candidates will face each other in a second round on Oct. 15.
Here’s a look at both candidates:
Lawyer Gonzalez, 45, has pledged to bring back million-dollar welfare and social programs previously enacted by her mentor, former President Rafael Correa.
Gonzalez, who refers to herself a single mom, animal rights defender and sportswoman, has repeatedly evoked Correa’s popular health, education and security policies and pledged to “recover the homeland.”
The former lawmaker told Reuters she would use $2.5 billion from international reserves to shore up the struggling economy and invest in public infrastructure if elected.
Gonzalez has denied she would pardon Correa, who was convicted of corruption and sentenced to eight years in prison.
The former president, who Gonzalez has said would be one of her advisors if she is elected, lives in Belgium.
A surprise second round candidate, Noboa seemingly gained support after performing well in the only televised debate of the campaign.
A lawmaker until current President Guillermo Lasso dissolved the national assembly and called early elections, Noboa is the son of prominent banana businessman and erstwhile presidential candidate Alvaro Noboa.
Noboa, the youngest of the candidates at just 35, has focused his campaign on job creation, tax incentives for new businesses and jail sentences for serious tax evaders.
The Guayaquil native has also has pledged to improve the justice system, making it more equitable and efficient.
Noboa, who is married and has two children, studied at universities in the United States and began working at his family company, Corporacion Noboa, as a young man.
(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia and Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)
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