A second round of voting in Ecuador’s election for president will be required, the head of the country’s National Election Council (CNE) announced Tuesday, despite five percent of the vote yet to be counted.
In the initial voting Sunday, Lenín Moreno, of the PAIS Alliance of outgoing president Rafael Correa, was edging agonizingly close to claiming outright victory. With 95 percent of the vote counted Tuesday, he had 39.21 percent of the vote, almost 11 points ahead of closest challenger Guillermo Lasso of the right-wing Creo-Suma Alliance. Yet, in order to claim victory without the need for a runoff, Lasso would have to reach the 40 percent threshold, together with a 10 percentage-point advantage.
The president of the CNE revealed at a press conference in Quito that the remaining votes will not have a decisive impact.
"This trend is established but the CNE will officially report when we have 100 percent of records recorded throughout the country," Juan Pablo Pozo said.
It would take three days for the votes to be fully counted due to “inconsistencies” with certain ballots, delays in votes from abroad and some rural areas as well as bureaucratic issues, Pozo said Monday.
Some opposition supporters took to the streets outside CNE to protest against alleged fraud. Security has been stepped up around the CNE’s headquarters and a bomb threat was made to the headquarters of the Alianza Pais.
Observers from the Union of South American Nations have said that there have been no attempts of fraud during the vote counting process.
The vote opposing a continuation of Alianza Pais’ 10 years in power was split between several candidates in the opening round, including conservative Cynthia Viteri of the Social Christian Party, who picked up 16.17 percent of the vote. Viteri has already confirmed that she would back Lasso if there was a second round and opposition support is expected to coalesce around the former banker who has promised to lower taxes and boost jobs.
A second round runoff was scheduled to take place April 2.