Business heir Daniel Noboa on Sunday won Ecuador’s presidential election, vowing to rebuild the South American country, which is struggling with a weak economy and rising crime and violence.
Thirty-five-year-old Noboa, a surprise qualifier for the run-off in the early election, has pledged to improve the economy and create jobs for young people, as well as to house dangerous criminals on prison ships.
The businessman is to become the youngest president in Ecuador’s history, at 35 years old.
Mr Noboa won Sunday’s election with 52.3% of the vote, ahead of Luisa González’s 47.7%. She conceded defeat and congratulated her rival.
The 35-year-old, of the National Democratic Action party, is the son of Álvaro Noboa, who ran unsuccessfully for the presidency five times.
Mr Noboa will only have 17 months in office until the next election.
He will govern from the end of November 2023 to May 2025, due to the fact that the current election was triggered early when outgoing President Guillermo Lasso dissolved parliament amid an impeachment trial. He can run again for the 2025-29 presidential term if he wishes to.
Mr Noboa will be sworn in as president on 25 November, five days before his 36th birthday.
Following his win in the second round of voting, Mr Noboa told supporters: “Tomorrow we start work for this new Ecuador, we start working to rebuild a country seriously battered by violence, by corruption and by hate.”
Ecuador has suffered an increase in gang violence in recent years and the presidential campaign was marred by the assassination in August of candidate Fernando Villavicencio. As a journalist, he had campaigned against corruption.
Violent crime has also risen dramatically and Ecuador has become a hub for drugs gangs due to its location between Colombia and Peru, the top two producers of cocaine in the world.
Mr Noboa has suggested moving some of Ecuador’s most hardened criminals to prison ships off the Ecuadorean coast, in order to break up the prison gangs which have engaged in deadly warfare inside the country’s jails.
He also wants to boost security at Ecuador’s borders and ports to disrupt key drug-trafficking routes, suggesting installing scanners to ensure more shipments of cocaine are intercepted.
He has also tried to appeal to voters by promising to boost employment opportunities.
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