Both presidential campaigns pledge a close watch over April 2 voting; Lasso claims ‘media lynching’ by government media

Mar 9, 2017 | 3 comments

Representatives of Lenin Moreno’s Alianza País and Guillermo Lasso Creo-SUMA say they will keep an eagle-eye on the entire voting and vote-counting process in the April 2 presidential runoff election.

Guillermo Lasso complains of “media lynching.”

Both parties claimed that there were cases of fraud in the first election although election officials say those would not have affected the outcome.

In addition to announcing closer election monitoring, Alianza País has asked the national election commission (CNE) to review the software used for vote counting before the runoff. At the same time, Creo-SUMA vice presidential candidate, Andrés Páez, announced a sit-in at CNE headquarters in Quito on election day to deter fraud.

On Wednesday, CNE president Juan Pozo again defended the legitimacy of the February 19 election, saying that the outcome was accurate and that the problems encountered during voting and vote counting did not indicate large-scale fraud. He also said that problems involving military oversight of ballot boxes following voting did not affect the process. On Monday, President Rafael Correa fired an Army commander who claimed that military oversight was breached at several points during vote counting.

Creo-SUMA has called for an investigation of the commander’s charges.

Also on Wednesday, Lasso complained of “media lynching” by government-owned media for publishing and broadcasting stories about Ecuador’s 1999 banking crisis. The stories focus on Lasso, a former executive with Banco Guayaquil and government cabinet member during the crisis.

Lasso claimed that the use of tax-payer supported public media by the government for campaign purposes was illegal and unfair and said he is considering legal action. Public media, including newspapers and television stations, is controlled by the Correa government. According to the Lasso campaign, the candidate was cleared of any wrong-doing during the banking crisis and account-holders at Banco Guayaquil lost no money.

“The government is using public media, which is owned by all the people, for its selfish propaganda purposes,” Lasso said. “This is one reason why we need to kick out the dictatorship and make Ecuador a democracy again.”

The term “media lynching” was coined by President Rafael Correa to describe criticism of his government by the private media.

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