Two weeks after the first round of voting, the National Electoral Council (CNE) of Ecuador announced, at dawn on Sunday (21), that banker Guillermo Lasso is going to pass to the second round of the presidential elections, next to the first place, Andrés Arauz.
After 14 days of recounts and controversies, a decision was finally reached. After the completion of the 100% ballot count, the winner of the first round is Arauz, a leftist candidate sponsored by former President Rafael Correa, with 32.7% of the votes.
Second, therefore moving to the next stage of the vote, scheduled for April 11, was center-rightist Guillermo Lasso, with 19.74%. Third, and therefore out of the running, left-wing indigenous leader Yaku Pérez, with 19.38%.
While Arauz’s leadership was already clear since election Sunday, on the 7th, the dispute for a place in the second round was decided in the vote-by-vote count. The country was put on hold for two weeks, facing protests, accusations of fraud and requests for recount.
Like other countries in the region, Ecuador uses two parallel counting systems. One is the quick poll, based on the photos of the polling station minutes, which usually give a result on the same night. Another, with which the first is compared later, is the vote-by-vote count.
On election day, the CNE decided to stop the quick count with almost 90% of the minutes recorded because it found a technical tie between Lasso and Pérez. At the time, the indigenous leader appeared with a slight advantage over the banker.
As a result, Ecuadorians had to wait for vote-by-vote counting. In addition, both candidates who were running for the second round requested more than one recount of the minutes in various provinces of the country.
Lasso complained about the CNE, for having released a projection still with 20% of the quick count performed, stating that Pérez was closer to going to the second round.
Pérez, in turn, called vigils from the first day, in which supporters demonstrated in front of the headquarters of Organs electoral bodies. According to the leftist, his opponent could resort to fraudulent methods to guarantee his continuity in the dispute and, being a millionaire candidate, he would have the resources to “buy” electoral and fiscal judges. The dispute began to take on more verbally violent tones.
The clash was a contrast to the 2017 elections. At the time, when Lasso went to the second round against current President Lenín Moreno, the indigenous leader supported him, as he was a convinced anti-corrista.
In the protests against Moreno in 2019, Pérez also did not join the pro-Correa indigenous unions and preferred to follow an independent path. It is because of this that the former president calls him “fake indigenous” and accuses him of being financed by the United States.
This time, however, the frictions between Pérez and Lasso became more evident, and it will be more difficult for the indigenous to support the banker, as in the past. Correa had signaled that, as an opponent of Arauz, his sponsor, also prefers Lasso because he does not usually have a presence throughout the country and, therefore, could be more easily defeated.
In common, Lasso and Pérez have anti-corruption. Its voters, however, have even less elements of agreement. Pérez’s followers, mostly young progressive people, are against Lasso’s neoliberal and extractive agenda.
On the other hand, Lasso voters would only support Pérez to remove Correa’s influence, but they fear his distance from the reality of the markets and are suspicious of his ability to deal with the economic crisis.
Until the publication of this report, Pérez had not yet publicly commented on the CNE decision.
Ecuador inherited by the next president, who is due to take over in May, will be a country in difficulty. In 2020, GDP fell by nine percentage points. There is a debt of US $ 6.5 billion (R $ 35 billion) with the IMF (International Monetary Fund), and an informality rate that grew during the pandemic by almost 70%.
Covid-19, for its part, which had already punished the country to the point of being the second with more deaths by inhabitants in South America, behind only Peru, is now entering a second wave, filling the hospitals of the main cities again . The vaccination program is slow, and there are several reports of vaccine diversions for family members of politicians.