Center-right presidential candidate Guillermo Lasso has accused Ecuador’s electoral commission of fraud after leftist Lenin Moreno officially won Sunday’s national vote, extending socialist rule in the South American country for another four years.
According to the official tally by the Ecuadorian National Electoral Council (CNE), with 94 percent of the vote in, Moreno received 51 percent of the vote, while Lasso earned 49 percent. The election was the second round of the presidential vote, as Moreno won the first election with fewer than 50 percent of the tally, forcing a run-off against the runner-up, Lasso.
Moreno, of the Alianza Pais (AP) party, received the support of incumbent socialist president Rafael Correa, a staunch ally of Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro. Lasso, a businessman by trade, has proposed center-right reforms to curb government spending and distance Ecuador from human rights violators in South America.
Lasso has insisted that he will not accept the results of Sunday’s vote. “We will not allow them to play with the will of the people,” he said on Twitter. “We are not stupid and neither are the people of Ecuador.”
Lasso called for peaceful resistance against the current government, warning against “provocations” to violence. His call for protest nonetheless triggered scuffles between his supporters and revelers celebrating Moreno on the streets of Quito, the capital.
Lasso’s Creo-SUMA political party has supported his refusal to accept the election results. César Monge, a party representative, told reporters his party had evidence of the CNE flipping vote totals in local tallies to give Moreno the larger number. “When we began to cross-analyze the Creo ballot totals with the CNE information, we began to discover what we are revealing… we are demanding transparency,” Monge said.
Lasso published one of these vote counts on his Twitter page. On the left, the total in one voting center in Tungurahua appears to be 142 for Lasso and 89 for Moreno, according to tallies by local election officials. These numbers appear reversed on the official CNE sheet.
Este es solo un ejemplo de actas que demuestran inconsistencias. Han cambiado sus votos por los nuestros. pic.twitter.com/soFgCgc3y7
— Guillermo Lasso (@LassoGuillermo) April 3, 2017
“This is but one example of sheets showing inconsistencies. They have switched their votes with ours,” Lasso wrote.
Lasso’s party also contends that these numbers differ significantly from the exit polling data released earlier in the day. One poll, for example, found Lasso leading by over seven percentage points.
Lasso told reporters that he has filed a complaint with the Organization of American States (OAS) demanding further scrutiny into the affair.
The CNE, meanwhile, has responded with a demand that Lasso accept the results of the election. “Ecuador deserves the ethical responsibility from its political actors to recognise the democratic decision made by the people at the ballot box,” CNE head Juan Pablo Pozo said in a statement.
President Correa, meanwhile, has celebrated on social media. “The revolution has triumphed again in Ecuador,” he said on Twitter, calling Lasso’s allegations a “shame.” Correa had threatened to dissolve the Ecuadorian government entirely should the people vote for Lasso.
“The best way to keep me far away is to behave well,” the President of Ecuador warned in February. “If you behave badly, I will return and defeat you again.” Ecuador is home to a bizarre executive procedure known as “cross-death” which allows the president to call for legislative and presidential elections and dissolve the entire government at any time.