Ecuador's Election Ends In Close Result, And Accusations Of Cheating

Pierre Vaugeois
Апреля 7, 2017

Socialist candidate Lenin Moreno won the presidential election in Ecuador on Monday ushering in a shift from the right.

Leftist government candidate Lenin Moreno claimed victory in Ecuador's presidential election yesterday but the right-wing challenger disputed the result and asked for a recount, setting the stage for potential protests in the historically turbulent Andean nation.

Both candidates in Ecuador's presidential election are greeting jubilant supporters and claiming victory in what's shaping up to be a nail-biter race.

With 95% of the votes counted, Moreno is in the lead with 51.11% compared to 48.89% gained by his opponent Lasso, the country's election commission reported.

By nightfall, most of the demonstrators had left, but a few hundred die-hards remained in a peaceful vigil, with riot police present at the scene.

Key to Lasso's challenge of the results in all of Ecuador's 24 provinces were three exit polls that showed him winning.

Cedatos, which accurately predicted the results of the first-round results in February, said in a survey published after polls closed Lasso won 53 percent to 47 percent for Lenin Moreno.

This story has been corrected to say that while almost 96 percent of votes counted and Moreno has claimed victory, he has not formally been declared the victor.

Lasso had vowed to begin dismantling Corrreismo on day one and vowed to get to the bottom of corruption that he says has hollowed out the administration. Lasso also called into question why it took hours for the second-round results to be released when it took several days for the first-round results to be released.

Despite the CNE and global observers announcing that there were no issues with voting, similar to the first round of voting in February, rumors of voting fraud were circulated on social media by the opposition.

Correa accused Lasso supporters of trying to deny the results and provoke violence.

Moreno, meanwhile, declared victory in a speech in front of Quito's presidential palace.

"While not one of Correa's top political advisers, he seems to enjoy good access and to have developed the President's respect".

For weeks Ecuadoreans polarised by 10 years of Correa's iron-fisted rule had been bracing for a contested vote.

"Ecuador deserves that its political actors show ethical responsibility in recognizing the democratic will expressed by the people at the voting booths", said National Electoral President Juan Pablo Pozo.

Peru also elected a right-leaning government in 2016.

"The revolution has triumphed again in Ecuador", Correa said on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Latin American leaders such as Venezuela's Nicolás Maduro and Bolivia's Evo Morales congratulated the socialist on his win, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange reportedly experienced relief since Lasso had promised to remove the activist from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he now resides.

"It's the moment for peace and unity", Moreno, 64, said.

Correa, an outspoken critic of the United States, let the WikiLeaks founder stay at the London embassy to avoid arrest and extradition to Sweden over a rape allegation.

On his Twitter account, Assange took a jab at Lasso's pledge, writing: "I cordially invite Lasso to leave Ecuador within 30 days".

Associated Press writer Joshua Goodman in Caracas, Venezuela, contributed to this report.

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