It’s official: Lenin Moreno and Guillermo Lasso will face off in a presidential runoff election April 2.
The announcement was made Tuesday by Juan Pablo Pozo, president of Ecuador’s National Electoral Council (CNE), at a hastily called Quito press conference. It was an abrupt about-face from Monday, when Pozo said there would be no word about a runoff until all votes were counted and that would not come before Wednesday.
Although 4.8 percent of the votes remained to be counted at the time of the press conference, Pozo said that they would not be enough to boost Moreno over the 40% mark he needs to win outright. “There is a strong trend in the voting results that will not change as we finish the count,” he said. “There will be a second round of voting for president.”
The latest CNE numbers as of Wednesday at 3 a.m. with 98.5% of the vote counted, put Moreno at 39.33% and Lasso at 28.19%.
Lasso supporters cheered the decision but said they would continue their vigils outside of CNE offices in Quito and Guayaquil. “We will be here until all votes are made officials,” said Lasso’s vice presidential running mate Andrés Páez. “We still don’t trust this government.”
Guayaquil Mayor Jaime Nebot echoed the theme of distrust of the government of President Rafael Correa. “We intend to gather on March 8 for great march in favor of democracy and against the corruption of this government,” he said. “The day has finally arrived when the people regain their voice.”
Correa said that Moreno would win “a second round just as he did the first,” and claimed that if there was election fraud, it was committed by the opposition.