QUITO – Ecuador’s National Electoral Council (CNE) said on Monday that officials would need three more days to tabulate results from the weekend presidential contest and determine whether a runoff will be required.
CNE President Juan Pablo Pozo said at a press conference that nearly 12 percent of the tally sheets still needed to be counted, some of which had inconsistencies.
With 88.77 percent of polling stations reporting, the candidate of the ruling, left-wing Alliance PAIS party, Lenin Moreno, had captured 39.1 percent of the vote and Guillermo Lasso of the center-right CREO movement had garnered 28.3 percent.
In Ecuador, a candidate needs 40 percent of the vote or more and a margin of victory of at least 10 percentage points over the second-place finisher in the first round to avoid a runoff.
Moreno says he will almost surely win the election in the first round.
But Lasso, a former banker, says he is all but certain a runoff will be required and has called on the other opposition forces to join him to defeat Alliance PAIS, in power since outgoing President Rafael Correa took office in January 2007.
Among the irregularities, 5.49 percent of the tally sheets have a gap between the number of registered voters and registered votes and 1.45 percent are illegible, Pozo said.
Provincial electoral boards need to review those sheets before a final result is declared, he added.
The CNE president said he expected final results of elections for seats in the unicameral National Assembly and the Andean Parliament, as well as of a ballot measure to prohibit elected officials from keeping assets in tax havens, within a period of between five and eight days.
He refused to comment on accusations of fraud posted on social media sites.
Lasso, meanwhile, was among those criticizing the delay in tabulating the results.
“It smells bad. How are they going to take three days for 12 percent when yesterday they had scrutinized 12 percent in two hours, or a half-hour?” Lasso asked rhetorically at a rally Monday in the coastal city of Guayaquil.