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Noboa leading Ecuador presidential race with over half the vote counted

2023-10-15T23:43:38Z

Business heir Daniel Noboa is leading the vote count to be Ecuador’s next president with 52.7%, ahead of his leftist rival Luisa Gonzalez, who has tallied 47.3%, with over half the ballot boxes counted.

Noboa, a surprise qualifier for the second round run-off, has pledged to attract foreign investment, create jobs for young people and house dangerous criminals on prison ships.

Voters’ top concerns largely center on the economy, which has struggled since the coronavirus pandemic and motivated many thousands of Ecuadoreans to migrate, and rising crime, including increases in murders, robberies and prison riots.

The violence, which the outgoing government blames on drug gangs, reached a crescendo during the campaign with the murder of anti-corruption candidate Fernando Villavicencio, who was shot dead while leaving a Quito campaign event in August.

Business scion Noboa, 35, had led recent polling, but at least two surveys placed him and Gonzalez, a protege of former President Rafael Correa, within the margin of error.

Noboa was set to await results in the seaside town of Olon while Gonzalez waits for them at a hotel in Quito.

Polling firm Estrategas Infinity said its exit poll of more than 32,000 voters showed a seven point lead for Noboa, giving him victory with 53.85% over Gonzalez’s 46.15%.

Noboa won 23% in the first round, while Gonzalez, a 45-year-old former lawmaker, won 34%.

Noboa is the son of multimillionaire banana magnate Alvaro Noboa, who himself ran unsuccessfully for president numerous times.

Related Galleries:

Electoral workers take part in the ballot count process during the presidential election, in Quito, Ecuador, October 15, 2023. REUTERS/Karen Toro

Ecuadorian presidential candidate Daniel Noboa reacts during the presidential election, in Santa Elena, Ecuador October 15, 2023. REUTERS/Santiago Arcos

Ecuadorian presidential candidate Luisa Gonzalez shows off her ballot as she votes at the polling station during the presidential election, in Canuto, Ecuador October 15, 2023. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez

People queue to vote at a polling station during the presidential election, in Tosagua, Ecuador October 15, 2023. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez

People queue at a polling station during the presidential election, in Toacaso, Ecuador, October 15, 2023. REUTERS/Karen Toro

A member of military personnel stands guard at a polling station during the presidential election, in Olon, Santa Elena, Ecuador October 15, 2023. REUTERS/Santiago Arcos

A man casts a ballot at a polling station during the presidential election, in Olon, Santa Elena, Ecuador October 15, 2023. REUTERS/Santiago Arcos

A combination picture shows Ecuadorean presidential candidates Luisa Gonzalez and Daniel Noboa attending an event, in Quito, Ecuador October 12, 2023. REUTERS/Karen Toro

Military personnel secures the area at the polling station where Ecuadorian presidential candidate Luisa Gonzalez will vote, during the presidential election, in Canuto, Ecuador October 15, 2023. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez
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