(QUITO, Ecuador) — Leftist candidate Lenin Moreno appeared on the verge of victory in Ecuador’s presidential election but his opposition rival refused to recognize the results, calling on his supporters to take to the streets to guard against “fraud.”
Sunday’s second-round runoff in the Andean nation of 16 million was being watched closely as a barometer of whether the left, which had dominated South American politics for the past 15 years, could stop a string of right-wing victories across the region.
With more than 96 percent of voting acts counted, Moreno had 51 percent of the vote while conservative banker Guillermo Lasso had 49 percent. A difference of about 220,000 votes separated the two candidates with fewer than 300,000 still left to count.
Lasso said he would challenge the results in all of Ecuador’s 24 provinces after three exit polls showed him winning. He also questioned why results that took three days to calculate following the first round of voting in February were announced so quickly in Sunday’s runoff. …