Ecuador's Lasso says he'll dispute nearly 2000 vote tallies

Posted April 07, 2017

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa (R) celebrates in advance with a birthday cake his April 6 anniversary, next to President elect Lenin Moreno (out of frame) and Vice-president-elect Jorge Glas (L), at the Carondelet presidential palace, during the exchange of guard ceremony in Quito on April 3, 2017.br / Socialist Lenin Moreno on Monday celebrated victory in his bid to extend a decade of leftist rule in Ecuador but faced allegations of voting fraud from his conservative rival.

"We are going to be with the Ecuadorian people" to defend the votes, Lasso said. The first round presidential vote was shrouded in controversy, when the CNE shut down its counting process at 11pm on the first night, and then proceeded to delay four days before reporting final official results, which confirmed a second round election between Lasso and Moreno.

Guillermo Lasso, even published through his Twitter account, an example in which vote totals were inverted between himself and ruling party candidate Lenin Moreno.

The announcement came after Moreno's conservative challenger Guillermo Lasso refused to recognise the results of Sunday's election, demanding a recount.

But Lasso alleged fraud and said he would contest the result.

On Tuesday, Ecuador's electoral body officially announced Moreno won the presidential runoff with 51.16 percent of valid votes, while Lasso garnered 48.84 percent, with 99.65 percent of votes counted.

The Organization of American States, which had an observer mission in Ecuador, said yesterday it had seen "no discrepancies" between results collected by its observers at polling stations and official results.

Fulfilling a new commitment - enshrined in Ecuador's 2008 constitution - to prohibit foreign military bases in the country, in 2009 Correa ordered the withdrawal of US troops from the Manta military base, established in 1978, after its most recent 10-year lease expired. Moreno said he would let him stay.

Despite resounding praise for the transparency of Sunday's vote from worldwide observation missions, right-wing former candidate and banker Lasso has contested the outcome of the vote on unsubstantiated claims of fraud, calling for a recount.

The majority of voters also said they were hungry for change amid ongoing corruption allegations related to bribes that Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht paid to officials in Correa's government and a $12 million contracting scandal at state-run PetroEcuador.