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Ecuador faces presidential runoff

By AFP   |   20 February 2017   |   9:12 am

Supporters of presidential candidate Guillermo Lasso protest outside the National Electoral Council in Quito on February 20, 2017 waiting for the final results of the presidential election. Leftist Lenin Moreno appeared to be edging toward an outright victory in Ecuador’s presidential election, with partial results showing him close to crossing the margin needed to avoid a runoff. With nearly 82 percent of the ballots counted, Moreno had just under 39 percent of the vote, with nearly 29 percent going to his conservative rival Guillermo Lasso. / AFP PHOTO / RODRIGO BUENDIA

Ecuador’s presidential election looked headed to a runoff as partial results showed leftist candidate Lenin Moreno fell short of the lead needed to win outright in Sunday’s first-round vote.

With 51.8 percent of the ballots counted, Moreno had 38.26 percent of the vote with 29.86 percent for his conservative rival Guillermo Lasso, the president of the National Electoral Council, Juan Pablo Pozo, said in a televised announcement.

Moreno needed more than 40 percent and a 10-point lead over his rival to win outright without facing a runoff.

If in the end Lasso wins the presidency, a pillar of the Latin American left will swing to the right.

Correa says Latin America needs a strong leftist movement to resist US President Donald Trump’s hard line on immigration and trade.

But Lasso has shown more willingness to work with Washington since Trump’s election victory in November.

Lasso has also said he will end WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s asylum in Ecuador’s London embassy.

Assange is taking refuge there from possible extradition to the United States for publishing leaked documents that embarrassed Washington.

The busting of a commodities boom has hastened the end of two decades of leftist predominance in Latin America.

Argentina, Brazil and Peru have all switched to conservative governments since late 2015.




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