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ECUADORIAN leftist Andres Arauz is set to sweep to a thumping victory in February’s presidential elections, according to latest polling data.
The Latin American Strategic Centre for Geopolitics showed him with a 13.6 per cent lead over his nearest rival, businessman Alvaro Noboa, with Pachakutik candidate Yaku Perez close behind in third place.
In a damning indictment of current President Lenin Moreno, his favoured candidate Ximena Pena is polling at a paltry 1.2 per cent of the vote.
Mr Arauz is an ally of popular former president Rafael Correa,who was barred from standing in the election earlier this year in what was branded a form of lawfare — using a state’s legal system to battle those deemed enemies — that has been used against leftist political leaders in Latin America including Evo Morales in Bolivia and former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva.
Unemployment has rocketed in Ecuador, which has seen huge street protests over austerity — Mr Moreno has made IMF-ordered cuts to public spending and public-sector workers’ terms and conditions — and his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
In October 2019 a state of emergency was imposed to quell dissent, with hundreds detained amid accusations of police brutality.
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