Ecuador’s presidential election has effectively gone to a runoff, with the race being between the ruling party’s candidate Lenin Moreno and conservative Guillermo Lasso. With more than 97 percent of the votes counted on Wednesday, Moreno had 39.31 percent, and Lasso had 28.25 percent, according to the National Electoral Council.
To win the presidency, Moreno needs 40 percent of the votes and a margin of at least 10 percentage points over Lasso. While the margin is there, the 40-percent threshold seems unlikely to pull off, and a runoff has been scheduled for April.
When asked if a second round could be avoided, the president of the National Electoral Council, Juan Pablo Pozo, said, “No, it’s not possible.” But a second round would officially be announced after all ballots are counted, according to the electoral body. Pozo said it could take until Thursday for the full results to be confirmed. The electoral council also denied any voter fraud in the Sunday election. Conservative opposition groups had accused the government of trying to tamper with the election results.
Lasso had written on his Twitter page, “That it should take three days to publish final results is an attempt at fraud and we are not going to allow that.” The electoral council countered by saying, “Never in the history of the country have results come out less than 48 hours after the end of voting.” The Electoral Mission of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) also said there was no attempted fraud during the final count of votes. The head of the mission, Alexander Vega, explained the delay in the release of final results as part of a normal vote-counting procedure and called for people to be patient.
He said the Ecuadorean system is “so transparent that whoever wins can download the transcripts, add the votes and will get the same result.—Agencies