Former banker Lasso is second and will go to the ballot

QUITO (AP) – Former right-wing banker Guillermo Lasso came in second place in the recent presidential elections in Ecuador and will contest a ballot against the leftist Andrés Arauz that will define the new leader of the Andean nation on April 11, according to the National Council. Election on Sunday.

The secretary of the electoral body, Santiago Vallejo, announced that Arauz won with 32.72% of the votes, followed by Lasso with 19.74% and the indigenous Yaku Pérez – in third place – with 19.38% .

The president of the National Electoral Council, Diana Atamaint, said shortly before the announcement that « we have reached a successful conclusion with the proclamation of those who go to the second round, » and added that « we are going to defend democracy at all costs. »

In his Twitter account, Lasso affirmed that « democracy has triumphed » and that « We are going to the second round with courage and optimism! With me there will always be the space to have a frontal and sincere dialogue that adds to the objective of achieving the Ecuador of the meeting together ”.

Pérez did not immediately comment on the final official results.

The proclamation comes at a time when Pérez denounced alleged irregularities and other inconveniences in the scrutiny. Pérez even asked that the count be suspended, but his request was not answered.

The results were released two weeks after the elections with the votes of four of the five members of the Electoral Council, the fifth was absent due to health problems, after a session that was installed around midnight on Saturday. After the announcement, applicants can file challenges to the results.

Pérez and Lasso had agreed days after the elections and in honor of transparency, they said, the 100% count in the most populated province of the country, Guayas, and 50% in 16 other provinces, but soon after they changed their position while the National Electoral Council did not support the initiative either.

A march with hundreds of indigenous people left the southern city of Loja, 425 kilometers south of the capital, on Wednesday to claim what they consider a fraud that harms Pérez. It is estimated that the march would arrive in Quito on Tuesday.

The official announcement of the results was made when the Comptroller General and the Prosecutor’s Office have announced an audit of the Electoral Council’s computer system to verify the transparency of the scrutiny.