Daniel Noboa

Ecuadoran President-elect Daniel Noboa. (AP)


Update: Daniel Noboa Wins Ecuador's 2023 Presidential Runoff

By Jon Orbach

The 35-year-old son of a banana magnate, who will govern until April 2025, will have to face security challenges and a divided Congress.

After six attempts, a Noboa has finally won Ecuador’s presidency. Daniel Noboa, the son of five-time candidate and Ecuador’s richest man Álvaro Noboa, beat out Citizen Revolution’s Luisa González in a runoff election on October 15, in which he garnered 52 percent of valid votes. He will govern for 16 months, finishing out President Guillermo Lasso’s term.

The heir to a banana empire, Noboa will be 36 when his term starts in December, making him the youngest president in Ecuador’s history. He takes over at a complex time for the country: drug-related violence is on the rise and a post-pandemic economic slump has left just 35 percent of the country with stable, full-time work. In a sign of the insecurity plaguing the country, candidate Fernando Villavicencio was assassinated on August 9, just 11 days before the first-round vote.

The older Noboa was a sworn enemy of leftist populist President Rafael Correa (2007–2017), who beat him in the 2006 presidential runoff. In his campaign, Daniel avoided taking too strong a stance in the correísta vs. anti-correísta binary that has defined Ecuadoran politics for the past 17 years. Analysts say that his steering clear of the dynamic helped him defeat Correa’s handpicked candidate, González, and appeal to young voters tired of correísmo dominating the conversation. 

While Noboa has held held several leadership positions in his family’s company, his political life began in 2021, when he was elected as a legislator in the National Assembly. He had planned to run in the 2025 elections, but Lasso’s dissolution of both the presidency and the Assembly in May during an impeachment process accelerated the young Noboa’s plans. 

The president-elect represents National Democratic Action, an independent coalition he himself built. National Democratic Action won 42 of 137 seats in the Assembly. With no congressional majority, his coalition will need to build alliances to avoid gridlock.

Noboa describes himself as center-left, but his pro-business stance has many viewing him as center-right. Furthermore, his choice of right-wing Verónica Abad to be his vice president has garnered attention as her ideology clashes with the platform he’s conveyed. She’s anti-choice; spoken out against feminism and LGBTQ+ rights; and shown sympathy for Spain’s Vox party and ex-Presidents Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro. Noboa said that in her role, she will focus on Ecuadoran emigrants and developing relations with the Caribbean and Africa.

Noboa’s first lady will be his 25-year-old wife Lavinia Valbonesi, a social media influencer with whom he has one child and another on the way. Her following extends to 360,000 people, which she leveraged to boost her husband’s digital campaign. 

Chase Harrison contributed to this article