Ecuador begins 2019 in the midst of uncertainty about the public reaction to the rise in the price of gasoline decreed at the end of 2018, and marked by the expectation of the results that will emanate from the sectional elections in March, which will map the presidential of 2021.
The rise in the cost of gasoline in the middle of the preparation for the end of the year festivities atomized in December the public reaction, although social organizations made feel their discontent and announced for this month protest actions fearing a domino effect on the costs of other products.
A survey by the firm Cedatos revealed at the end of 2018 that 75% of Ecuadorians were unhappy with the rise in the price of gasoline driven by the Lenin Moreno government.
On the increase in the price of "extra" and "ecopais" gasoline, of mass consumption and that went up from 1.48 dollars per gallon (4 liters) to 1.85 dollars, the Cedatos survey indicated that it agreed with the 21 , 5% of its respondents.
But shortly before the end of the year, the higher-octane gasoline, known as super, rose again and announced the revision of the price of diesel, but not that used for public transport and commercial land authorized.
After the revelation of the economic measures in December -including the rise in the cost of gasoline-, the approval of Moreno's management stood at 34.7%, which was at 77 in August 2017, three months after take power, according to Cedatos.
On the other hand, the citizenry is also waiting for more actions from the Executive to achieve the stability of the economy, which Moreno said he inherited in critical condition from his predecessor and ex-religious Rafael Correa.
And if the economic situation is holding the population in suspense, in the political arena one of the most important aspects is anchored in the results of the elections on March 24, when 5,675 main authorities will be appointed, including the incumbents. of the prefectures, as well as the mayors, councilors.
"It will be key how these elections are resolved, especially in the big cities, because the government coalition will depend to a large extent on the two years that remain in power," the analyst tells Efe. Santiago Basabe.
It assumes that the government party, Alianza País (AP), "is going to have a very important setback in those elections" and some political groups are going to prop up in the face of the presidential elections of 2021.
Politically, in addition, next May, the official Elizabeth Cabezas ends the term of president of the National Assembly (Parliament), with "unlikely" chances of re-election, according to Basabe.
On the other hand, in the same March elections, the Ecuadorians will designate the seven members of the Council of Citizen Participation and Social Control (Cpccs), the body in charge of designating the country's control authorities.
Key in this field is the appointment of the head of the State Attorney General, a "basic official to try to reorder something in the country," says Basabe, noting that if there is a prosecutor with high academic and ethical credentials, it will be difficult to advance in the fight against corruption.
Basabe, a professor of Comparative Politics at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (Flacso), believes that 2019 is a "fundamental" political year, in which, moreover, the strength with which he has remained in the political arena Correa will be measured. He governed Ecuador between 2007 and 2017, and now resides in Belgium and is investigated by the justice of his country.
For Basabe, Correa "is not out of the political scenario because it generated loyalties for ten years," but his group "is decimated" and even ran out of political party after the break with Moreno, who now leads AP.
In the March elections, it will be the first time that the correístas will run for elections without AP, so Basabe does not believe that they will achieve large spaces, but it will be a barometer of their situation.
With the aforementioned scenario, 2019 is "of political and economic uncertainty", for Basabe, with a definitive first quarter for Moreno's eventual economic decisions, as well as for the results of the sectionals and the conformation of Cpccs, which "will give clearer lights of where the country is going to go this year. "