If he prevails in an upcoming runoff election, a George Washington University graduate will become president of Ecuador. The runoff, scheduled for Oct. 15, pits newcomer Daniel Noboa, M.P.S. ’22, against frontrunner Luisa González, a lawyer and former Ecuadoran national secretary of public administration.
According to a report in the New York Times, Noboa, aged 35, is the scion of a wealthy family known for its banana empire. He began his political career in 2021, when he was elected to a seat in Ecuador’s national congress. As a student at GW’s Graduate School of Political Management, he studied political communication and strategic governance.
Widely viewed as a political outsider, Noboa emerged as the surprise second-place winner in Ecuador’s presidential election in August. He faces stiff opposition from González, who has the backing of former Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa, a leftist economist.
The national economy and rising rates of violent crime are major concerns for Ecuadoran voters. Another presidential candidate, progressive journalist and labor leader Fernando Villavicencio, was assassinated in early August.
The question to be answered in this runoff election is whether voters in Ecuador, with its population of 18 million, would prefer to move forward with a known quality in González, aged 45, or a relative unknown like Noboa, who announced his candidacy in May.
A new political alliance in Ecuador, Acción Democrática Nacional (National Democratic Action), supports Noboa’s presidential campaign. Noboa has suggested anticorruption measures and called for more jobs, foreign investments and lower taxes. His running mate, Verónica Abad Rojas, is a conservative entrepreneur. Whether their ticket will appeal to enough voters to elevate Noboa to the presidency will be determined in the runoff. In such a volatile political environment, experts said, results can be hard to predict.
According to the August election returns reported by the New York Times before the voting tallies were final, González captured 33 percent of the vote, with Noboa netting 24 percent. Because neither candidate won more than 50 percent of the voters, Ecuador will choose its president between the two candidates with the most votes in the upcoming runoff.
Noboa’s father, Álvaro Noboa, has been a presidential candidate in five previous elections, the Times noted.