Ecuador socialist wins presidency, rival cries fraud

Henrietta Brewer
April 6, 2017

Leftist government candidate Lenin Moreno had claimed victory in Sunday's vote, bucking a shift to the right across South America as Lasso's supporters took to the streets in protest.

National Electoral Council said, former Vice President, Moreno of the Socialist Party got 51.12 percent votes, with just 4 percent of districts still waiting to be counted.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will likely be able to remain at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London after voters in Ecuador on Sunday narrowly elected ruling party candidate Lenín Moreno over conservative Guillermo Lasso, reports USA Today. Lasso vowed to "defend the will of the people" and challenge the results, which he believes to be fabricated, having already shared on Twitter what he called an example of vote count inconsistency. 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.

Mr Lasso had assumed victory and started celebrating after an exit poll showed him comfortably ahead.

Final official results have yet to be announced.

The scene was much calmer than the one on election night, when thousands of outraged Lasso supporters shouting "fraud" crashed through metal barricades to nearly reach the entrance of the electoral council's headquarters in Quito.

The opposition mayor of Ecuador's largest city Guayaquil Jaime Nebot said that CREO has the right "to demonstrate with documents the harm it alleges".

"A big hug to those who believed in our proposal as well as to those who did not vote for us; we'll work for them too", Moreno tweeted on Monday, when he participated in the changing of the guard at the presidential palace in Quito with outgoing President Rafael Correa.

Ecuador's election on Sunday has been widely billed as an indicator of the political climate in Latin America, where more than a decade of leftist dominance has been waning amid a a string of conservative victories. It has not yet declared a victor.

"Ecuador deserves that its political actors show ethical responsibility in recognising the democratic will expressed by the people at the voting booths", said National Electoral President Juan Pablo Pozo. "Yes, all, but especially the poor", Moreno said in a speech to some 2,000 supporters outside the presidential palace.

The Wikileaks founder had feared being booted out of Ecuador's embassy in London by candidate Guillermo Lasso, which could have led to his arrest over longstanding allegations of sexual assault.

In a secret U.S. diplomatic cable from 2007, U.S. Ambassador Linda Jewell describes how Moreno, then Correa's vice president, broke the ice in their first encounter with a joke about the government's refusal to sign a free trade agreement.

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. Jorge Glass, who also served in the Correa administration will now serve as vice president.

Other reports by iNewsToday