Ecuador looks to runoff vote for president in April

QUITO, ECUADOR (AP) — Final results from a February 7 presidential election in Ecuador confirmed that former banker Guillermo Lasso came second behind leading candidate Andrés Arauz, meaning the two will contest a runoff vote in April, election officials said on Sunday.

Lasso, who had lost the last two presidential contests, won 19.74 per cent of votes in the election while Indigenous candidate Yaku Pérez came third with 19.38 percent after all votes were counted, the National Electoral Council said. Just 32,600 votes separated the two candidates.

Pérez alleged fraud after the results that indicated he had fallen just short of defeating Lasso and making it to the runoff. The council “may declare fraudulent electoral results, but the true results are in the hearts of Ecuadorians who supported a new political project that reflects the dreams of a dignified and honest Ecuador”, Pérez tweeted.

The attorney general’s office has said it is investigating the allegations.

“Democracy has triumphed,” Lasso tweeted after the final results. He has had a long career in business, banking and government and favours free-market policies and Ecuador’s rapprochement with international organisations.

Arauz led with 32.72 per cent, a frontrunner status that became clear in partial results and only left open the question of who he would face in the April 11 run-off after the tight race for second place.