[WSMDiscuss] (Fwd) Ecuadoran election: radical indigenous leader Yaku Pérez could challenge (Correa-style petro-Keynesian) Andrés Arauz in final round of presidential vote; update on Cuenca's pro-water anti-mining referendum victory

Patrick Bond pbond at mail.ngo.za
Tue Feb 9 11:53:07 CET 2021

Latin America and the Caribbean 

  Ecuador's CNE gives Yaku Pérez a slight advantage over Guillermo Lasso

      According to the most recent part of the CNE, 98.67 percent of the
      votes cast have been counted.

The National Electoral Council (CNE) of Ecuador reported this Monday on 
its official website that the candidate for the Pachakutik Plurinational 
Unity Movement, Yaku Pérez, after obtaining 19.92 percent of the votes 
counted, slightly ahead of the representative of the political alliance 
I believe, Guillermo Lasso, who at the moment achieves 19.58 percent.

    *READ ALSO: *

    Ecuador's CNE reports that it will take days to know who reached
    second place in elections

In this way, although they are not the final results, the candidate 
Pachakutik Plurinational Unity Movement is positioned in second place in 
the general elections held last Sunday.
The candidate who obtains the most votes will face the representative of 
Unión por la Esperanza, UNES, Andrés Arauz, on April 11, who remains in 
first place in the count with 32.10 percent of the votes counted.

At the moment, the National Electoral Council has computed 98.67 percent 
of the ballots. Of these, 3.07 percent were cast blank and 9.48 percent 
of the votes computed were annulled.

The election day on Sunday was characterized by high citizen 
participation, despite the context of the coronavirus pandemic, as well 
as delays in the opening and operation of schools that generated long 
lines of voters.


    Voters backed prohibition on mining in Ecuador city of Cuenca

9th February 2021

By: Reuters <https://www.miningweekly.com/author.php?u_id=99>

QUITO – Voters in the Ecuadorean city of Cuenca backed a prohibition on 
mining activities in areas close to watersheds via a referendum held on 
Sunday, the mayor said on Monday, in a move that may spook foreign 
investment sought by the South American nation.

The proposal, which was on the ballot for some 435 000 Cuenca residents 
during Sunday's presidential and legislative elections, asked if the 
city should block mining in areas near the rivers that cross through Cuenca.

"We share good news with citizens: in Cuenca, the water won," mayor 
*Pedro Palacios *wrote on Twitter. "Thank you for joining this proposal, 
which motivates us to continue working to care for nature."

The mayor later told reporters that the announcement was based on 
preliminary results, estimating that more than 80% of voters supported 
the initiative.

The National Electoral Council in the province of Azuay said in a 
statement that it had reviewed 44.5% of votes in the referendum as of 
early Monday morning, without elaborating.

Election authorities may be tied up for several days as they continue 
tallying up presidential and legislative votes.

City residents were asked five questions regarding the prohibition of 
large-scale metals mining in the area of the Tarqui, Yanuncay, 
Machangara, Tomebamba rivers, and prohibition of medium scale mining 
near the Norcay River.

Ecuador's Constitutional Court approved the referendum last year, but 
noted that it would only affect future projects.

Industry leaders understand that to mean that it will not affect key 
projects such as Rio Blanco, led by Chinese consortium Ecuagoldmining, 
and Loma Larga, being developed by Canada's INV Metals Inc.

"This will (be in effect) in the future," *Patricio Vargas*, president 
of the Azuay Mining Chamber. "It is a heavy blow to the credibility of 
the country."

On 2/8/2021 6:12 AM, Miriam Lang (via social-movements Mailing List) wrote:
> *Ecuador: Historic urban vote against large scale mining in referendum*
> Ecuador’s third largest city Cuenca, of more than 600.000 inhabitants, 
> has voted clearly against large-scale mining on February 7th, 2021. 
> According to estimates published on Sunday night, 80% of voters have 
> expressed themselves for water and life, and against mining and 
> extractivism. This referendum has been approved by the Constitutional 
> Court in September 2020, what makes its results binding. While the 
> results of the simultaneous presidential election were still being 
> counted, pointing at a second round in April, the referendum 
> organizers made clear on election night that any new president will 
> have to respect the will of the people of Cuenca. It is the first time 
> in Latin American history that a binding referendum against 
> large-scale mining is won in a big city, and not in a directly 
> affected rural community, according to Argentinian sociologist 
> Maristella Svampa.
> In September 2020, the Constitutional Court had given way to the 
> referendum for the protection of the Cuenca water recharge zone with 
> 4200 water bodies in the Andean Highlands, where the five rivers which 
> guarantee the city’s water supply arise. The referendum had been 
> promoted by an alliance of 14 social organizations, the Cabildo del 
> Agua, who first won the approval of the Cuenca City Council and then 
> the Mayor. Corporations from Canada, Australia, Peru, Chile, and other 
> countries hold large or mid-scale mining concessions in this sensitive 
> ecological area, whose exploitation will now be forbidden. For this 
> reason, Ecuador’s mining chamber had argued that the referendum would 
> affect foreign investor’s legal security. According to the mining 
> cadastre, there are 73 concessions in Cuenca county, 43 of which being 
> for metal mining. Two of the mining projects categorized as 
> “strategic” by former governments also fall into the now forbidden zone.
> While Ecuador is struck by a severe economic recession in the midst of 
> the pandemic, many presidential candidates have promised large-scale 
> mining would mark the path out of this crisis, alongside with further 
> expanding the oil frontier. Nevertheless, many Ecuadorians are aware 
> at engaging into large-scale industrial mining in one of the Earth’s 
> mega-biodiverse countries in the midst of this era of accelerated 
> biodiversity loss leads into the wrong direction. The overwhelmingly 
> clear result of the Cuenca referendum opens the path to discuss 
> socioecological alternatives which evolve around the preservation of 
> life and the conditions for its reproduction instead of prioritizing 
> the profits of transnational companies and the both socially and 
> environmentally unsustainable export of raw-materials.
> In the meantime, with 50% of the records from the presidential 
> election processed, it seems likely that the second round in April 
> will confront Andres Arauz, a close ally of former president Rafael 
> Correa, and Yaku Pérez, the candidate of the indigenous movement party 
> Pachakutik anf former prefect of Cuenca. The right-wing, neoliberal 
> banker Guillermo Lasso would just be in third place. Yet much is still 
> uncertain in this count.
> Firma---Miriam-Lang correo 2020
> ---
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