QUITO (Reuters) - Ecuador’s election authority said on Friday it will conduct a recount in most of the country to ensure the transparency of Sunday’s presidential elections, after one of the candidates made accusations of electoral fraud.
Left-wing economist Andres Arauz won Sunday’s vote and moved on to the April 11 runoff vote. With less than 1% of votes left to count, Guillermo Lasso holds a narrow lead over indigenous activist Yaku Perez in the race for runner-up.
Perez demanded a full recount after saying the vote had been manipulated, without presenting evidence of fraud. He argued that the data in the minutes of various electoral boards are inconsistent with data entered into the vote-counting system.
National Elections Council President Diana Atamaint said that a recount will be carried out in the province of Guayas, home to the largest city Guayaquil and where Perez had strongly questioned the outcome. In addition, 50% of the vote 16 other provinces will be reviewed.
“Once the review process is finished, the final announcement of the results will be made,” Atamaint said in a press statement. “We are firmly going to defend the electoral process that we prepared with great affection, responsibility but above all with transparency.”
Perez and Lasso agreed to the recount in a meeting that included observers from the Organization of American States.
The statement did not say how long the process would take.
The official vote count shows Perez with 19.38% of the votes and Lasso with 19.74%, with 147 poll statements left to review. Arauz won the first round with 32.7%.
“We are convinced that now, with transparency, we will recover many votes,” said Perez, after the meeting at the electoral council. “It was worth the fight.”
Perez has visited various state agencies of the Andean country to denounce manipulation of the vote results, while his followers have held vigils in Quito and Guayaquil.
Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Daniel Wallis
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