Oct 17, 2023 - World

Daniel Noboa, Ecuador's president-elect, vows to tackle inflation and crime

Ecuadorian President-elect Daniel Noboa speaks to supporters on October 15. Photo: Marcos Pin/AFP via Getty Images

Ecuadorian President-elect Daniel Noboa's plans to tackle the nation's growing security and inflation crises could be stifled by a potentially uncooperative Congress and the short length of his term, experts say.

Driving the news: Noboa, a 35-year-old businessman from a center-right party, won with 51.9% of the votes in Sunday's runoff, becoming the youngest person elected president in Ecuador's history.

  • He won in a snap election to fill the remainder of outgoing President Guillermo Lasso's term. Lasso is cutting his term short after dissolving Congress over an impeachment inquiry.
  • Noboa, who is the son of Ecuador's richest man, will be eligible to run for re-election in the spring of 2025.

The big picture: During his short victory speech Sunday, Noboa said he'll "bring back peace to the country, education to youths, jobs to the people." The country has seen soaring inflation and homicide rates, forcing many Ecuadorians to migrate north.

  • Noboa's platform includes creating more bank credit programs and attracting more foreign investment to create more jobs.
  • He's promised criminal justice reforms that would streamline criminal trials, create a new intelligence agency and establish "boat prisons" to transfer the most violent offenders from overpopulated penitentiaries.
  • Most of his promises require congressional approval or at least general budget allocations through legislative debates.

Yes, but: Time is not on his side, and Noboa will contend with a Congress in which his party holds only a tenth of the seats, says Angélica Abad Cisneros, professor at the economics and public administration school of Universidad de Cuenca.

  • "There is a lot of trepidation as to how all that can be approached given the time," Abad Cisneros tells Axios Latino.
  • She says Noboa's presidency might end up becoming more of a long campaign for re-election in 2025.
  • Noboa has already said he will seek re-election, and he says he'll have enough time for the top three issues he plans to tackle: the economy, security and jobs.

Between the lines: The relationship between Ecuador's executive and legislative branches has been acrimonious for almost a decade.

  • Before Lasso's call for snap elections, he'd accused lawmakers of purposefully stonewalling him, and tried to push his agenda through referendums instead.
  • The previous president, Lenín Moreno, also struggled as several committees refused to begin debates on his legislative proposals.

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