Ecuador on edge as both presidential candidates claim victory in tight vote
A narrow finish in Ecuador’s presidential election had both candidates declaring victory Sunday, with the country on edge and possibly heading for a political crisis.
With more than 93 per cent of the ballots counted, leftist candidate Lenin Moreno was leading 51 per cent to 49 per cent over right-wing challenger Guillermo Lasso.
But both men claimed victory ahead of the final results, with Lasso citing a key exit poll by the Cedatos firm showing him winning by a comfortable margin.
Speaking on television after an emotional speech declaring victory, he said that the official results were fraudulent and that “the Ecuadorean people aren’t fools.”
Moments later, Moreno told his cheering supporters that he had won, even as the final tally was incomplete.
He urged his supporters to march to the headquarters of the electoral authorities, where pro-Lasso crowds were gathering. “Onward to victory!” he shouted. “We’ll continue changing Ecuador for the better.”
On Twitter, President Rafael Correa declared victory for Moreno, his former vice president. “The Revolution has triumphed again in Ecuador,” he wrote. “The right has been defeated.”
Also at stake Sunday night was Julian Assange’s asylum protection at Ecuador’s embassy in London, because Lasso has pledged to evict Assange within 30 days from the embassy where the WikiLeaks founder took refuge in 2012. Moreno has said Assange can stay.
assange appears to be safe for now..
“On Twitter, President Rafael Correa declared victory for Moreno, his former vice president. “The Revolution has triumphed again in Ecuador,” he wrote. “The right has been defeated.”