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The leftist Arauz and the rightist Lasso will contest the ballot in Ecuador

Left-wing economist Andrés Arauz and right-wing former banker Guillermo Lasso will contest the April 11 presidential ballot in Ecuador after the elections two weeks ago, the National Electoral Council (CNE) announced on Sunday.

Arauz, the dolphin of former socialist president Rafael Correa (2007-2017), won the first round with 32.72% of the votes, followed by Lasso (with 19.74%) and the leftist indigenous leader Yaku Pérez (19.39% ), according to the proclamation of results by the secretary of the CNE, Santiago Vallejo.

The count was approved with the vote of four of the five members of the electoral body present at a meeting, which was reinstated on Saturday and lasted until early Sunday morning.

The winner of the ballot will succeed Lenín Moreno, ex-ally of Correa and whose four-year term will end on May 24.

Pérez, a 51-year-old environmental lawyer, maintains that a right-wing fraud marginalized him from the ballot after being displaced by Lasso from second place during the preliminary vote, for which he has unsuccessfully raised a vote count with the CNE.

“Three days (of the preliminary scrutiny) we were in second place and on the fourth day they already put us in third place, that is fraud,” said the indigenous leader on Saturday in the Andean town of Riobamba (south).

Pérez could insist on his request in a challenge phase that by law the CNE will open from the promulgation of the results of the presidential election on February 7, in which 16 candidates participated.

– Fight between correísmo and anticorreísmo –

“I will continue to represent them in this second electoral round,” Lasso said in a statement after the proclamation.

He added that “today democracy has triumphed, we are going with courage and optimism to this second round.”

The centrist Xavier Hervas was placed fourth with 15.68% of the vote and the other applicants – including the official Ximena Peña, the only woman – captured support that reaches 2%.

Lasso, a 65-year-old conservative, leads the opposition to Correa, who beat him in the 2013 presidential election.

In addition to the confrontation between the left and the right, “the Correismo-anticorreismo struggle is coming,” political scientist Esteban Nichols, from the Simón Bolívar Andean University in Quito, told ..

For the former banker, who is running for office for the third time, “the toughest election is coming, he must seek alliances with antagonists” such as the parties that sponsor Hervas (Democratic Left) and Pérez (Pachakutik, political arm of the indigenous movement). Nichols added.

Arauz, Correa’s former minister, did not manage to win the presidency in the first round as his leader did in 2009 and 2013, for which he needed at least 40% of the vote and ten points of difference over his immediate follower.

Nichols maintained that Arauz captured the electorate of the former socialist ruler, who has lived in Belgium since he left power and was sentenced in 2020 in his country to eight years in prison for corruption.

“By itself it does not generate a vote. People voted for Correa,” said the expert.

– To recover the votes –

To defend Pérez’s vote, whom a quick count by the CNE placed second on the day of the election and thus remained in the first days of the slow preliminary scrutiny, indigenous groups held peaceful vigils in front of the CNE headquarters in Quito.

The aboriginal leader insists on being the victim of a fraud, so on Wednesday indigenous people began a “march for democracy” in Loja, to the south and near the border with Peru, with the intention of reaching the Ecuadorian capital next Tuesday. .

“Unfortunately, they are trying to strip us of our votes,” Pérez told supporters on Saturday in a town in the province of Chimborazo (southern Andean), where the walk he leads arrived.

He added that before the pretense of “snatching away and stripping us” of the votes, next Tuesday to Quito “we are going to arrive rivers of people, rivers of hearts to say that our vote is defended, our vote is not stolen. We must recover the votes. “.

The delay in the announcement of the results and the tightness of the vote between Lasso and Pérez, both opponents of each other and of Correismo, led the UN and the OAS to demand “transparency” in the vote count.

The Comptroller’s Office of Ecuador asked the CNE on Saturday to allow it to carry out an audit of the electoral computer system before the ballot to “guarantee the necessary transparency, legal security, legitimacy, adequate use of public resources and contribute to the generation of an environment of trust.” .

In the February 7 elections, the 137 members of the National Assembly were also appointed, without any party having achieved a majority. Correísmo will be the main force with around fifty seats.

dsl-sp / sea