Conservative former banker Lasso wins Ecuador’s presidential election
Former banker Guillermo Lasso won Ecuador’s presidential election on Sunday after his socialist opponent Andres Arauz conceded.
Economist Arauz, who is best known as the protege of former president Rafael Correa, was magnanimous despite earlier claiming victory following a tight exit poll.
“I congratulate him on his electoral triumph today and I will show him our democratic convictions,” said Arauz.
Lasso had 52.51 percent of the vote compared to Arauz’s 47.49 percent with 93.14 percent of votes counted, the National Electoral Council said.
Seasoned politician Lasso, 65, has twice before finished second in presidential votes.
Earlier, television stations Ecuavisa and Teleamazonas published the results of the Cedatos exit poll that gave Lasso almost a 6.5 percentage point lead over Arauz.
But the stations also said the Clima Social pollsters had indicated the result was a technical draw and thus decided not to publish their figures.
Arauz’s campaign team used that poll to claim victory by 1.6 percentage points.
“Thank you Ecuador! This is a victory for the Ecuadoran people,” Arauz said on Twitter. “No one will prevent the course of history.”
Voting is obligatory, and opinion polls had the rivals neck and neck heading into the election for oil-rich Ecuador’s 13.1 million registered voters to pick a successor to the deeply unpopular Lenin Moreno.
The campaign in the South American country had been dominated by an economic crisis aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Arauz, 36, is virtually unknown but topped February’s first round of voting on the back of support from his mentor, Correa, who led the country from 2007-2017.
He didn’t vote on Sunday because he is still registered in Mexico, where he was studying for a doctorate before deciding to run in the election.
Lasso, 65, is a third-time presidential candidate having finished second to Correa in 2013 and Moreno in 2017.
Many experts billed the election as a battle of “Correism versus anti-Correism” in a country bitterly divided along political lines…..read more