QUITO – A huge crowd gathered on Tuesday before the headquarters of Ecuador’s National Election Council (CNE) to await the final results of the weekend election to select a new president, with the governing party’s candidate, Lenin Moreno, and opposition candidate Guillermo Lasso expected to be the two top vote-getters, although it is not yet clear whether a runoff between them will be required.
Since the vote count began, opposition demonstrators have remained before the CNE HQ in Quito calling for a runoff, and the election authority has made it clear that it will only provide official results when absolutely all the votes have been tallied.
With 94.6 percent of the ballots tabulated so far, Moreno has garnered 39.2 percent of the votes and Lasso 28.4 percent, a breakdown that will not substantially change, according to CNE chief Juan Pablo Pozo, who, however, refused to speculate on whether or not a runoff will be required.
Ecuadorian law states that to be elected president, a candidate must either win more than 50 percent of the votes or obtain 40 percent provided that the No. 2 vote-getter trails by at least 10 percentage points.
Outfitted with horns, flags and whistles, several thousand people gathered on Tuesday afternoon in front of the CNE to cheer Lasso, who thanked Quito residents for hitting the streets to demand the voting results.
“We will not move from here until the runoff is officially recognized,” Lasso told the crowd, adding that the authorities “have to look face to face at the Ecuadorian people” and say that they will respect the popular will.
The candidate, who called upon the crowd to remain peaceful and not engage in violent acts, was cheered by his followers with shouts of “Lasso president” and “Out with Correa, out!” the latter referring to outgoing President Rafael Correa.
The leader of the center-right CREO movement, accompanied by his running mate, Andres Paez; his wife, Maria de Lourdes Alcivar; and Quito Mayor Mauricio Rodas, also thanked the Social Christian Party for the support it has provided for his candidacy in a prospective runoff.