Lenin Moreno (C) attends a presidential campaign in Quito, Ecuador, on Feb. 20.
Lenin Moreno (C) attends a presidential campaign in Quito, Ecuador, on Feb. 20.

Ecuador Presidential Election Goes to April Runoff

Ecuador Presidential Election Goes to April Runoff

Ecuador’s presidential election will go to an April runoff between leftist government candidate Lenin Moreno and ex-banker Guillermo Lasso, the electoral body said on Tuesday, after a close first round over the weekend.
Moreno needed 40% of valid votes and a 10 percentage-point difference over his nearest rival to win outright. He was the clear leader of Sunday’s election, pocketing 39.21% of valid votes versus 28.34% for Lasso, with 95.3% of votes counted, Reuters reported.
With the Andean country on tenterhooks and the opposition protesting for prompt results, the electoral body said the results could not change although it was waiting for all ballots to be counted before officially proclaiming a second round.
“No, it’s not possible,” electoral council president, Juan Pablo Pozo, told reporters, when asked if a runoff could be avoided. “But we have to wait for official results to be 100%.”
Opposition protesters had massed in front of the electoral council headquarters in mountainous capital Quito since Sunday to denounce what they say were fraud attempts. The government retorted they were inciting violence and urged patience.
Ecuador’s fragmented opposition is now expected to close ranks around Lasso in a runoff amid anger over an economic downturn and a series of corruption scandals, potentially ending a decade of leftist rule in Ecuador.
Should Ecuador move to the right with a second-round victory for Lasso, it would follow on the heels of Argentina, Brazil and Peru which have all swerved away from the left as a China-led commodities boom ended.

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