The National Electoral Council agreed Friday to recount 100 percent of the presidential election votes in Guayas Province and 50 percent of the votes in 16 other provinces. The agreement was reached at CNE headquarters in Quito with the approval of Guillermo Lasso and Yaku Pérez, who are competing to challenge Andrés Arauz in the April 11 presidential runoff.
Diana Diana Atamaint, CNE president, said arrangements will begin immediately for the recount and that representatives of Lasso’s CREO party and Pérez’s Pachakutik party will be allowed to observe the process. In addition, the count will broadcast live on CNE’s internet reporting channel.
Lasso agreed to Pérez’s Thursday demand that votes be recounted in seven provinces: Pichincha, Guayas, Manabi, Los Ríos, Esmeraldas, El Oro and Bolivar Provinces. At Friday’s meeting, however, Pérez expanded his demand to include all 24 provinces, which was declined by CNE. Following the CNE decision, Pérez said he would seek an injunction by Ecuador’s Constitutional Court for a full recount. Legal and elections experts say that the court is unlikely to comply.
At the CNE meeting, which included election observers from the Organization of American States (OAS), Pérez presented four cases of records which he claimed showed voting inconsistencies in Guayas, Pichincha, Azuay and Tungurahua Provinces. He said he believed there were other anomalies in vote counting but CNE counselor Luis Verdesoto responded that only “concrete doubts” would be investigated outside of the recounts.
Verdesoto agreed with Pérez, however, there were sufficient inconsistencies in vote counting to conduct a partial recount.
Gerardo de Icaza, OAS delegate “welcomed” the CNE recount plan, saying it would provide sufficient data to determine if the original vote count was accurate. “There is a limit to what any elections council can do in response to complaints from candidates. I believe in this case, the CNE is doing its job.”
The CNE said it would announce a recount schedule within 72 hours.