The people of Ecuador are rising up to refound their country as a pluri-national homeland for all. This inspiring movement, with Ecuador's indigenous peoples at its heart, is part of the revolution spreading across the Americas, laying the groundwork for a new, fairer, world. Ecuador Rising aims to bring news and analysis of events unfolding in Ecuador to english speakers.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Ecuador's leftist presidential hopeful surges in polls

QUITO, Ecuador: Ecuador's leftist presidential candidate Rafael Correa has surged into a neck-and-neck race with banana tycoon Alvaro Noboa less than two weeks before the Nov. 26 presidential runoff, a poll showed Thursday.

The national survey by Cedatos-Gallup showed Noboa with 41 percent support compared to 38 percent for Correa. Figuring in the 3.5 percentage point margin of error, that put the two candidates in a statistical tie.

Another 16 percent said they planned to cast blank or spoiled ballots for the vote, which is obligatory. The remaining 5 percent expressed no preference.

Under Ecuadorean law, polls cannot be published locally in the final three weeks before the ballot. The survey of 5,400 people taken Nov. 11-13, was published in a report by New York-based investment bank Credit Suisse. A copy was e-mailed to The Associated Press.

A Cedatos-Gallup last month showed Noboa with a 16-point lead over his rival, whose apparent comeback has rattled investors.

Noboa made a surprising surge in the final days of the first-round campaign, and his first-place finish prompted cries of fraud from Correa, who had been considered the front-runner before the election in October.

Correa, a former economy minister and avowed admirer Venezuela's leftist President Hugo Chavez, has since softened his anti-imperialist discourse toward Washington, and eased off radical economic pledges.

"Correa's more moderate rhetoric during the second-round campaign appears to have improved his image among Ecuadorean voters, helping him garner more support," Credit Suisse said.

JP Morgan said in a report Thursday that it had sold off Ecuadorean bonds "to lock in profits as we expect the market to continue to react cautiously to this new dose of uncertainty."

The investment house said it still believed the billionaire Noboa would ultimately win the race.

Alexei Paez, an Ecuadorean political analyst, told the AP that even Ecuador's business community is having "second thoughts" about Noboa, for fear he might try to use presidential power to solidify his vast business interests.

He said the political headwinds could still shift dramatically with voters waiting until election day to decide how to cast their ballots.

From International Herald Tribune.

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