QUITO – Ecuador’s governing party presidential candidate, Lenin Moreno, said that he won the election on Sunday, while opposition candidate Guillermo Lasso said that he will face off with him in a runoff after learning the results of several exit polls released after the precincts closed at 5 pm.
“We won the elections in a fair fight. In any case, the difference, dear friends, is nothing more and nothing less than a million votes, a million more Ecuadorians voted to continue the ... citizen revolution,” Moreno said shortly after several exit polls were made public.
Moreno was referring to the results of a group of surveys saying that the governing Alianza Pais party obtained 42.9%, 43.3%, 44.2% and 40.8 percent in four different exit polls, compared to 27.7%, 27.7%, 25.6% and 29.8% for Lasso.
Lasso, meanwhile, said that there will be a runoff when he appeared before supporters in the city of Guayaquil accompanied by his running mate, Andrew Paez.
Lasso said that between 60 and 62 percent of the voters “said no to the government” party, and he issued a call for unity among the opposition candidates, including conservative Cynthia Viteri, who was in third place, and invited them to “act with responsibility.”
An earlier exit poll had given Moreno 39.4 percent of the votes, and Lasso 30.5 percent, as reported by Teleamazonas television.
To win a first-round victory, according to Ecuadorian law, a candidate must receive more than 50 percent of the vote, or at least 40 percent provided he/she is at least 10 points ahead of the No. 2 vote-getter, but given that at least one TV exit poll has an error margin of 2.5 percent it was not immediately possible to determine if the second of those criteria had been met.
The other candidates – including social democrat Paco Moncayo; populists Abdala “Dalo” Bucaram and Patricio Zuquilanda; and independents Ivan Espinel and Washington Pesantez – were all behind Viteri in the polling so far.
Lasso, meanwhile, said that there will be a runoff when he appeared before supporters in the city of Guayaquil accompanied by his running mate, Andres Paez.
The opposition candidate said that between 60 and 62 percent of the voters “said no to the government” party, and he issued a call for unity among the opposition candidates, including conservative Cynthia Viteri, and invited them to “act with responsibility.”
He told Teleamazonas that he would have “a much broader unity” in the runoff than he managed to garner on Sunday.
“The Ecuadorian people told (the governing party) today ‘No, no more, we want change,’” he said.
Some 12.8 Ecuadorians went to the polls on Sunday to elect a successor to President Rafael Correa, 137 National Assembly members and five Andean Parliament members.
Voters also cast ballots on a government initiative seeking to prohibit public servants from holding assets in offshore tax havens.
National Election Council (CNE) chief Juan Pablo Pozo said that voting has proceeded calmly and that some 300 international observers had monitored the election.
Two hours prior to the closing of the polls at 5 pm, voter turnout was just under 70 percent, Pozo said.
If no candidate gets an outright win in Sunday’s election, a runoff will be held on April 2.