President Rafael Correa is accusing the polling organization Cedatos, the Citizen Participation Corporation (CPC) and media outlets of attempting to manipulate the outcome of the last week’s presidential runoff election.
In an exit poll released shortly after the April 2 election, Cedatos named Guillermo Lasso the winner by six points, prompting Lasso to give his victory speech. Several television stations and newspaper websites published the poll results and suggested Lasso was on the way to resounding win.
Two other exit polls, released after Cedatos’, predicted that Lenin Moreno, Correa’s former vice president, would be elected.
Citizen Participation Corporation, a non-profit, non-partisan group that provides “quick count” of election results based on an actual ballot count, said the election was too close to call several hours after polls had closed. Later, however, they released numbers showing Lenin Moreno the winner.
In the final vote, Lenin Moreno, won by 2.2 percent, although Lasso’s Creo political party is challenging the result.
“The protesters would not be in the streets today if Cedatos and the corporation (CPC) had not released false information,” Correa said Saturday. “They are responsible for challenging the institutionality of the government destabilizing the country.”
The federal prosecutor raided Cedatos offices Friday, taking computers and paper documents related to the organization’s polling activities. The raid was based on a complaint from Rosana Alvarado, a National Assembly member from Correa’s Alianza País, for an alleged “attack on the public faith.”
A spokesman for Cedatos called the raid a “witch hunt.”
“Our numbers were apparently incorrect but we never claimed they would match the final vote,” he said. “We are poll-takers, not official vote counters, and sometimes our results are not correct. We have the right to be wrong.”
Several national and international press organizations are also defending Cedatos, claiming the government is waging a campaign of intimidation.
Juan Pablo Pozo, president of the National Electoral Council (CNE), says results from Cedatos and CPC will be sent to the National Electoral Court to determine if any laws were violated.