On Thursday, November 23, Daniel Noboa took office as president of Ecuador. The most important moment of the event was the political speech of the future president in front of the National Assembly, which, according to the Constitution of the Republic, was supposed to present “the fundamental guidelines of the policy and actions that he will develop during his mandate”. But what messages, signifiers and meanings did the discourse of possession present to us?

In essence, Noboa’s speech had a central political message: the justification of youth as a means of overcoming the old politics. The family of words most frequently repeated in his speech referred to “youth” -9 times- and “old” -4 times-. The signifier “youth” filled him with strength and courage; while “old” referred to revenge and failed plans. In this sense, Noboa then included the pro/anti antagonism that he appropriates by saying that he is for Ecuador and against everything; But in politics, what does that mean and how is it possible to be anti-nothing and proto-everything? You cannot be with everything and everyone at the same time, not even under the name of “union”. This vain idea is precisely the denial of politics as a space for processing conflicts.

Effective recordings

worse than the worst

On the other hand, in relation to the policies and actions that he will develop during his mandate, he left only one clear message: the goal is to reduce violence by creating jobs. The signifier “violence”, repeated 4 times, and “misery” – a word foreign to politics – mentioned 2 times, were public problems that were prioritized in Noboa’s speech. And as a course of action, he stated only the sending of “urgent reform” projects to the Assembly. But what does that tell us? First, he ignored the role of the executive in managing public policies and focused only on the role of the Assembly. And more than anything else, it made other public problems and their characterization invisible. When you talked about violence, which ones did you mean? Also, where did inequality, poverty, corruption, social rehabilitation, etc. disappear?

Finally, Noboa’s speech revealed a key element when he said he had requested an action plan from each government portfolio. Apart from the intention to show himself as a planning leader, this action shows a big gap: there is still no clear vision and plan regarding public affairs in the country and for now it will remain at the discretion of each minister. This is a risk because the strength and coherence of the political program and its implementation will depend almost exclusively on the special visions, sense of responsibility and abilities of the elected ministers, who will not have time to learn or make mistakes.

Leader’s tasks

So what are we left with from Daniel Noboa’s inaugural speech? It leaves us with a few floating signifiers such as being “pro-Ecuador” and its antagonistic anti-nothing; He also introduces us to his idea of ​​the “new Ecuador”, an empty signifier that can be interpreted in many ways – young, strong, daring – and which reflects Nobo himself: a man with an enigmatic smile that seems to say something, no You don’t know what it means or what are you looking for (OR)