QUITO – Ecuador’s National Election Commission, or CNE, announced the country will hold general elections in February next year.
On Feb. 19, 12.8 million voters will choose the next president for the country, CNE chief Juan Pablo Pozo officially announced in a radio and television broadcast on Tuesday.
The submission of presidential and parliamentary nominations will begin on Wednesday and continue until Nov. 18, he added.
He said if none of the presidential or vice presidential candidates manage to win absolute majority (50 percent plus one) of the valid votes, or achieves over 40 percent of the total, leading their closest rival by 10 percent, a second round of voting will be held between the two top candidates on April 2.
The Ecuadorians will also choose five Andean parliamentarians and 137 lawmakers for its National Assembly or Parliament, including 15 through national constituencies, 116 through provincial and six from overseas (two from Europe, Asia and the Oceanic region; two from Canada and the U.S.; and two from Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean).
Underlining the need to ensure transparency in the upcoming elections, Pozo said the commission aims to “strengthen the democratic system, with fairness and equality.”
Voting in the South American nation is compulsory for all citizens above 18 years (including prison inmates not on death row), and is optional for those aged between 16-18 years, military personnel, senior citizens above 65, Ecuadorians who live abroad, as well as foreigners living in Ecuador for at least five years.
According to the CNE, over 616,000 teenagers, aged between 16-18 years, figure in the list of eligible voters, besides 378,292 non-resident Ecuadorians.
Meanwhile, election campaigning is due to begin Jan. 3 and end on Feb. 16, three days before voting day.
The winning presidential candidate will replace current leftist leader Rafael Correa, who has held the post for the last 10 years.