In a historic turn of events, Daniel Noboa, a 35-year-old businessman, has secured the presidency of Ecuador, making him the youngest president in the country’s history. After a closely contested run-off election, Mr. Noboa emerged victorious with over 97% of the votes counted, holding a four-percentage-point lead over his left-wing rival, Luisa González. Ms. González gracefully conceded the election and extended her congratulations to Mr. Noboa on his remarkable win.

In his victory speech, President-elect Daniel Noboa expressed his commitment to bringing back hope and tranquility to the nation. He stated, “I will give back a smile and peace to the country,” setting the tone for his presidency.

Daniel Noboa Emerges as Ecuador's Youngest President in Historic Election

This election, however, was marred by unprecedented levels of violence, with the tragic assassination of one of the candidates, Fernando Villavicencio, just days before the first round of voting in August. The surge in violence was a concerning backdrop to the electoral process, reflecting a quadrupling of the murder rate in Ecuador between 2018 and 2022. Opinion polls revealed that security was the primary concern among voters as they headed into the election.

Amidst heightened security concerns, Daniel Noboa, flanked by heavily armed soldiers, took to the stage, promising to embark on a mission to rebuild a nation plagued by violence, corruption, and division. Despite his limited political experience, he now faces the formidable task of addressing Ecuador’s security issues and revitalizing its struggling economy during his abbreviated term in office.

Presidential terms in Ecuador are traditionally four years long. However, this election was expedited due to the dissolution of the parliament by the outgoing President Guillermo Lasso. As a result, Mr. Noboa will serve out the term initiated by Mr. Lasso, concluding in May 2025, with the potential to stand for re-election.

Supporters of the young businessman took to the streets in jubilation to celebrate his historic win. Many of them expressed the need for fresh leadership and a break from the old political establishment. A 23-year-old student remarked, “Our president should waste no time and work very hard to put the brakes on insecurity.”

Daniel Noboa Emerges as Ecuador's Youngest President in Historic Election

During his campaign, Daniel Noboa unveiled plans to combat the country’s powerful criminal organizations, some of which operate from within the prisons, by isolating the most hardened criminals on prison ships off the coast of Ecuador. Additionally, he pledged to enhance security at Ecuador’s borders and ports to disrupt key drug-trafficking routes.

In his efforts to reinvigorate the economy following the pandemic, President-elect Noboa has proposed increasing employment opportunities for young Ecuadoreans. He intends to create incentives for both national and foreign companies, thus stimulating economic growth.

With a background in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, Daniel Noboa appealed to young voters who yearned for greater prospects and a fresh perspective. Despite positioning himself as an alternative to established politicians, his critics highlighted his familial ties to one of Ecuador’s most influential families. He is the son and heir of banana magnate Álvaro Noboa, who made multiple attempts but failed to secure the presidency on five occasions.

This electoral victory is seen as a significant rebuke by voters to the Citizen Revolution Movement and its leader, Rafael Correa. Mr. Correa, who governed Ecuador from 2007 to 2017 and has since faced legal challenges related to campaign irregularities, now resides in exile in Belgium. Nevertheless, he continues to wield substantial influence in Ecuadorean politics.

Daniel Noboa Emerges as Ecuador's Youngest President in Historic Election

Luisa González, handpicked by Correa, had promised to reinstate many of the social programs introduced during his tenure. Although she enjoyed a strong showing in the first round of voting, she failed to gain enough support in the second round. Some polls suggested that young voters, in particular, were disenchanted with the divisive rhetoric used by Correa and his party.

Following her defeat, Ms. González struck a conciliatory note, emphasizing the democratic process and unity among Ecuadoreans. “To those who didn’t vote for us, I congratulate you because your candidate won, and as Ecuadoreans, I embrace them,” she remarked, underscoring the spirit of democracy in the nation.

In conclusion, the election of Daniel Noboa as Ecuador’s youngest president ushers in a new era of leadership, with high hopes for addressing the country’s security challenges and boosting economic growth. His unique background and promise of change resonated with a broad spectrum of voters, marking a significant shift in Ecuador’s political landscape.