Ecuador Opposition Candidate Challenges Election Results

Opposition candidate Guillermo Lasso filed a complaint Wednesday challenging Ecuador election results that show he narrowly lost to President Rafael Correa’s handpicked successor.


The former banker is demanding a recount of all votes cast in the election, repeating accusations of fraud and saying if Lenin Moreno takes power he will head an illegitimate government.


“It’s necessary to be in the streets,” he told supporters at an event announcing the election challenge.


Official results released Monday show Lasso lost to Lenin Moreno by less than three points. The election was closely watched in Latin America as an indicator of whether the region would continue to shift right after recent conservative candidate wins in countries including Peru and Argentina.


Correa has served as Ecuador’s president for more than 10 years and the country has been deeply divided on whether to continue his “Citizens’ Revolution.” In polls leading up to the election, a majority of Ecuadoreans said they were eager for change and frustrated with a staggered economy and Correa’s iron-fisted rule.


Hundreds of outraged Lasso supporters protested outside the electoral council’s headquarters on election night April 2. Some remained camped out until being removed by police Tuesday.


Lasso said Wednesday his campaign has presented evidence showing 4,200 irregular voting acts, “and that’s just what we’ve found so far, that’s why we’re asking for a review of 100 percent of the votes.”


In the initial hours after the election, three exit polls showed Lasso winning. One by pollster Cedatos, which accurately predicted the results of the first round, gave him a victory by six percentage points.


Yet despite the accusations of fraud, international observers including the Organization of American states said they found no irregularities. The Washington-based regional group said its mission of 480 voting centers nationwide found no discrepancies between the tallies and the official results.


In presenting the results of a partial recount, Juan Pablo Pozo, president of the electoral council, said officials had found no evidence of ballots being incorrectly tallied.


The percentage difference between the two candidates after a recount of nearly 300,000 votes is “identical,” he said. “That’s our conclusion up to this moment.”

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