Ecuador confirms Arauz and Lasso to contest presidential run-off

Quito, March 21 4:10pm (AFP/APP): Left-wing economist Andres Arauz and conservative former banker Guillermo Lasso will contest the second round of Ecuador’s presidential election on April 11, the National Electoral Council (CNE) confirmed Saturday after resolving all disputes from the first round.

“Once 100 percent of the votes have been counted and the legal appeals filed by the political organizations have been resolved, the plenary of the electoral body has decided to proclaim the final results for the presidential run-off,” CNE secretary Santiago Vallejo said.

Arauz, 36, won the first round in February with 32.72 percent of the vote but not enough to win outright, followed by Lasso with 19.74 percent, according to the CNE count.

Arauz is the protege of Rafael Correa, a leftist two-time former president currently living in Belgium to evade a conviction for corruption, who remains an influential force in Ecuador. The election observer mission of the Organization of American States welcomed that “the candidates had multiple opportunities to challenge” thanks to which there were “the guarantees of certainty necessary in any electoral process.”

Left-wing indigenous leader Yaku Perez, who came third with 19.39 percent, has claimed fraud kept him out of the run-off and he had asked for a recount. Perez, a 52-year-old environmental lawyer, has exhausted all avenues for his challenge and responded by asking his supporters not to vote for any of the candidates.

The campaign for the second round began on Tuesday. Ecuador’s 13.1 million voters are being called to the polls to elect the successor to unpopular President Lenin Moreno, whose four-year term will end on May 24.

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