Although he continues to maintain that his vote has been undercounted, indigenous presidential candidate Yaku Pérez dropped his attacks Thursday on rival Guillermo Lasso. Lasso has pulled ahead of Pérez for the chance to challenge Andres Arauz in the April 11 runoff election.
On Thursday, Lasso agreed to support a reexamination of votes if irregularities are found and a recount is supported by law. Pérez is demanding a recount in seven provinces where he claims his votes have been undercounted. Lasso and Pérez will meet with the National Election Council and members of a team of international election observers today in Quito.
In Thursday counting, Lasso increased his lead over Pérez with less than one-half of one percent of the vote yet to be counted, almost all in Guayas Province where Lasso enjoys are large advantage. Early Friday morning, Lasso led Pérez by more than 40,000 votes, 19.74 percent to 19.38 percent of the total.
“I accept Yaku Pérez’s invitation to meet with officials and to discuss his concerns,” Lasso said. “If there are valid complaints in the election process I will support efforts to review votes if this is necessary.”
Earlier Thursday, Lasso joined the calls by several defeated presidential candidates to form a common front to oppose Arauz and his plan to reestablish Rafael Correa’s Citizens Revolution in Ecuador. “I want to meet with all other candidates and am willing to incorporate some of their positions in my campaign and fight to block a return to Correismo,” he said. According to his campaign, some of the positions Lasso could incorporate are stronger positions to protect the environment and to support women and gay rights issues.
“It will be essential to offer plans that appeal to the indigenous and campesino populations if he [Lasso] is to prevail in the runoff,” an unnamed member of Lasso’s campaign team said.
Diana Atamaint, president of CNE, said she and the election council are open to consider a recount if it is legitimate. “We must have legal justification and if this exists we will move forward. What we cannot do, however, is to reopen the polls simply because someone loses.”
Pérez is requesting a hand recount in Pichincha, Guayas, Manabí, Los Ríos, Esmeraldas, El Oro and Bolívar Provinces, claiming there is strong evidence his votes were undercounted.