Ecuador: Boost for struggling leftists as Moreno wins presidential vote
Leftist government candidate Lenin Moreno won the Ecuador presidential vote on April 2. This gives a boost to the struggling leftist movement in South America, where right wing governments recently came to power in Peru, Brazil and Argentina. Moreno defeated rival Guillermo Lasso with 51.1% votes. However, Lasso has sought a recount as supporters protested against "fraud attempts".
Ecuador's 2017 election
Ecuador's presidential election was held on 19 February'17. Under Ecuadorian law, incumbent President Rafael Correa was not eligible for re-election. The main candidates are Lenín Moreno and Guillermo Lasso. To win, one must secure at least 50% of the votes, or 40% of the votes with a 10% lead over the nearest opponent. If these conditions are not met, a run-off election is held.
Transgenders vote as chosen gender
In Ecuador, men and women wait in separate lines to cast their ballots. Under law, transgenders were forced to vote as their biological gender. For the first time, this year, transgenders get to vote as the gender they chose to be.
Who are the candidates?
Since Incumbent President Rafael Correa is not eligible for re-election, 63-year-old left-wing former vice-presiden Lenín Moreno will represent the ruling party. His closest rival is 61-year-old centre-right businessman and former banker Guillermo Lasso. Lasso has promised to evict Julian Assange from the Ecudaorian embassy within 30 days if elected. In 3rd place is Cynthia Viteri, who said she would support Lasso in a run-off.
Latin America's Pink tide
A defeat for Lenin Moreno, who has the backing of Correa's party, would signal a swing to the right after a decade of left-wing policies in Ecuador. In 2007, Correa was one of a group of left-wing leaders in power in Latin America, including Argentina's Kirchner, Bolivia's Evo Morales, Brazil's Inacio Lula da Silva, Cuba's Raul Castro, Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.
10 years later, Pink tide receding
Observers say that the Pink Tide is waning in Latin America. Argentina and Brazil are led by conservative presidents. Nicolas Maduro is facing severe political flak at home. Evo Morales is on his last term leading Bolivia. Hence Ecuador's election will be closely watched.
Tension mounts as Ecuador poll count delayed
Ecuadorians are impatient after the poll count as the country's presidential elections has been delayed by a day or two. Usually, the results are declared on the night of the election. Even though 95% of the votes have been counted, there has been a delay in counting the last 5%. Observers expect that the country will go to a run-off election in April.
With 95% votes counted, Moreno has secured 39.23% of the votes. His rival Guillermo Lasso, said the delays "did not smell right". However, National Electoral Council President Juan Pablo Pozo assured Ecuadoreans that "not one vote will be stolen," and that a run-off looked "inevitable."