Arauz and Lasso advance to Ecuador’s presidential runoff

Socialist Andres Arauz and conservative Guillermo Lasso will compete in the second round of the polls in April.

Incumbent President Lenin Moreno's term in office ends on May 24 [File: Santiago Arcos/Reuters]

Progressive economist Andres Arauz will face conservative former banker Guillermo Lasso in the second round of Ecuador’s presidential election on April 11, according to the country’s National Electoral Council.

Arauz, the 36-year-old protege of former socialist President Rafael Correa, won the first round with 32.72 percent of the vote.

Lasso won 19.74 percent, beating left-wing Indigenous leader Yaku Perez who won 19.39 percent, according to the final results of the February 7 poll announced by the electoral body’s secretary Santiago Vallejo on Sunday.

The results were approved by four out of the five members of the electoral body at a meeting that lasted into the early hours of Sunday morning.

Perez, a 51-year-old environmental lawyer, had formally submitted a request for a recount in 17 of Ecuador’s 24 provinces, which was suspended on Wednesday.

The recount would have involved about six million ballots, representing about 45 percent of Ecuador’s registered voters.

Perez has alleged there was fraud to keep him out of the runoff after he was displaced from second to third place by Lasso’s narrow lead in the middle of the count.

“Today democracy has triumphed, we are going with courage and optimism to this second round,” Lasso said in a statement following the announcement.

Incumbent President Lenin Moreno’s term in office ends on May 24.

The Organization of American States urged Ecuador’s National Electoral Council to “guarantee compliance with the electoral calendar” to ensure that the April runoff takes place as scheduled.

Source: News Agencies