QUITO - The opposition candidate in the presidential race in Ecuador claimed there were "rigging attempts" during the elections held Sunday and said he had reported this to the Organization of American States Secretary-General Luis Almagro.
Guillermo Lasso, of the center-right CREO movement, said his legal advisers would soon file their objections to alleged irregularities during the polls, in which ruling party candidate Lenin Moreno won with 51.1 percent after 95.27 percent of the votes had been tallied.
According to the same figures, opposition candidate Lasso took 48.9 percent of the votes.
The CREO candidate said he did not trust the results due to the difference between exit polls and official results, which he said had reached "eight points".
"We cannot permit attempts to distort popular will," Lasso said during an address to his supporters.
He also noted that it took four days to obtain the results of the presidential elections in the first round held in February, while on Sunday "they are trying to say that in 20 minutes the system switched off, went offline, with 90 percent votes later appearing as counted, from the earlier 20 percent."
Lasso said he had reported the situation to the head of the OAS electoral observation mission, the former Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernandez.
He invited his supporters to carry out peaceful but resolute protests, which he said were a legitimate part of democracy.
"I think a line has been crossed," the opposition candidate said, claiming there were attempts underway to violate popular will and establish an "illegitimate" government in Ecuador.
Lasso warned Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa against "playing with fire," and added that many people were unafraid of him.
Shortly before Lasso's address, CREO national director Cesar Monge urged the public to maintain a peaceful vigilance, claiming that irregularities had been discovered during the voting process.
"Our message to all the delegates involved in the processes within all of the councils, and provincial delegations is...to challenge everything so we can compare the information and so Ecuador can know the truth," he emphasized.
In his speech, he publicly appealed to National Electoral Council chief Juan Pablo Pozo to not hastily conclude the process if he wished to create the right environment for peace in the country.
Some 12.8 million voters cast ballots in the presidential elections, which will determine Correa's successor.