Ecuador Opposition candidate alleges fraud

Cheryl Sanders
April 17, 2017

Ruling party candidate Lenin Mor.

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.

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa, right, stands on a vehicle as he is escorted by his security staff on his way to the National Assembly in Quito May 24, 2014.

Lenin Moreno waiting for the election results in Quito, with Ecuador's vice president, Jorge Glas, right. Ruling party candidate Lenin Moreno was declared the victor of Ecuador's presidential.

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.

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. He has decried alleged inconsistencies in voting ballots.

Polls showed a neck-and-neck vote between Correa's hand-picked successor, Lenin Moreno, and conservative former banker Guillermo Lasso.

"He'll fight for equality, because he knows what it's like to be disadvantaged", said Janet Bravo, 40, who cast her vote for Moreno in the rough hillside neighbourhood of Comite del Pueblo.

"This is very sickening".

"They've crossed a line, which is pretending to abuse the people's will" and install an "illegitimate" government, Lasso said. A similar scuffle took place outside the electoral offices in Guayaquil. With the outcome so tight there have been reports of rioting in several cities.

"We will exhaust all of the political and judicial means, in Ecuador and overseas, to ensure respect for the popular will that asked for CHANGE", he said.

Lasso alleges fraud and has not conceded.

Moreno, meanwhile, said he would start work immediately on his transition. Before a crowd of hundreds of supporters, the apparent President-elect sang "happy birthday" to Correa, who turns 54 later this week.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange dodged an eviction order in Ecuador's Sunday election, after the right-wing candidate who had vowed to kick him out of the country's London embassy was set to narrowly lose a presidential election. Moreno said he would allow him to stay.

"I cordially invite Lasso to leave Ecuador within 30 days (with or without his tax haven millions)", the tweet read, echoing Lasso's language in his pledge to remove Assange from the London embassy. The group refrained from saying which candidate had the advantage.

Moreno said the poll by Cedatos, which accurately predicted the results of the eight-way first round in February, was paid for by the bank partly owned by his rival, Guillermo Lasso.

There was some relief Sunday when polls showed chances of the current leftist government remaining in power, with vice-president Lenín Moreno having a steady lead. Moreno, 64, also benefited from last-minute doubts that the pro-business Lasso if elected would gut social programs that have endeared poor voters to Correa's "Citizens' Revolution".

Moreno, who lost the use of his legs two decades ago when he was shot during a robbery, will become a rare head of state to use a wheelchair when he takes office next month.

"It's time for peace and union".

"We think more of the same policies under Mr. Moreno would keep growth stuck at 1.5-2.0 percent over 2017-20", said Capital Economics in a note to clients, adding growth under Lasso could increase to around 3 percent between this year and next.

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