QUITO – Conflicting exit polls gave two different candidates the lead in Ecuador’s presidential election on Sunday, and President Rafael Correa called on the public for calm as the country awaits official results of the vote count.
According to an exit poll released by the Teleamazonas television network shortly after the polls closed on Sunday, opposition candidate Guillermo Lasso won the Ecuadorian presidency; however, another poll reported by TC Television, the government’s candidate, Lenin Moreno, won the vote.
Lasso, a financier with the center-right CREO movement, received 53.02 percent of the votes, according to the exit poll conducted by the Cedatos survey firm, which gave Moreno 46.98 percent.
However, the poll carried out by Perfiles de Opinion found that former Vice President Moreno, with the governing left-wing Alianza PAIS (AP) party, garnered 52.2 percent and Lasso 47.8 percent of the votes.
Correa weighed in on the preliminary poll results, saying on Twitter “Unfortunately, two ‘exit poll’ surveys are giving absolutely contradictory results. Someone is wrong. We have to await the official results” from the CNE, calling on the public to “maintain calm, unity and peace” until the outcome is known.
During the course of election day, Foreign Minister Guillaume Long emphasized that the voting process was unfolding peacefully, a situation that made the government “very happy.”
Meanwhile, the head of the Organization of American States election observer mission, Leonel Fernandez, said that the 77 observers deployed in 19 of the country’s 24 provinces had reported “absolutely normality” in the balloting during the day.
“The report we have from all of them is that everything has transpired peacefully, normally, that no complaints have been presented,” the former Dominican president said during a tour of precincts in Quito.
Some 12.8 million voters were eligible to cast ballots in the election, which will determine Correa’s successor.
The National Election Council was scheduled to release the first official results about 8 pm.
During the day, police closed off streets around election offices, cordoned off the CNE headquarters in Quito and made preparations to deal with protests.