Arauz, Lasso to vie in Ecuador's presidential runoff

By Laura Gamba

BOGOTA, Colombia (AA) – Andrez Arauz will face Guillermo Lasso in Ecuador's presidential runoff in April, the nation's electoral body said on Sunday.

The National Electoral Council announced the election results 14 days after the presidential polls.

According to preliminary results published by the electoral body, left-wing economist Arauz won the first round of Ecuador's presidential election with 32.72% of the votes, not enough for an outright victory.

With a very narrow difference over indigenous environmentalist Yaku Perez, conservative banker Lasso will face Arauz, the protege of former president Rafael Correa, in the second round of the presidential polls.

Lasso secured 19.74% of the votes, displacing Perez who garnered 19.39%.

"We have reached a successful conclusion with the announcement of those who pass to the second round for the position of president and vice president," said Diana Atamaint, head of the electoral body.

Although pre-election polls placed Lasso in second place, Perez performed far better than expected. However, he fell just short of Lasso in the fight for the second spot in runoff.

Perez alleged fraud and formally submitted a request for a recount in 17 of the country's 24 provinces. However, the electoral body suspended the recount after it could not reach a majority in favor of his request.

"They are not going to defeat us, they are not going to annihilate us, the resistance continues," Perez said.

In the absence of final results, the indigenous movement called for protests and roadblocks in support of their candidate at a time when violent protests of October 2019, which forced the government to move its headquarters from Quito to Guayaquil, are still a vivid memory in the country.