Ecuador's presidential candidate Yaku Perez in Salcedo, Ecuador, on Monday after coming in third in the presidential election. He is leading his supporters in a march to the capital, Quito. Picture: SANTIAGO ARCOS/REUTERS
Ecuador's presidential candidate Yaku Perez in Salcedo, Ecuador, on Monday after coming in third in the presidential election. He is leading his supporters in a march to the capital, Quito. Picture: SANTIAGO ARCOS/REUTERS

Quito —  Wealthy former banker Guillermo Lasso will advance to the second round of Ecuador's presidential election after coming in second place in a February 7 vote, the country's electoral authority said, while the third-place finisher Yaku Perez alleged fraud.

Indigenous environmentalist candidate Perez, who won 19.39% of the vote, has asked for a recount in 17 provinces on grounds of alleged fraud and manipulation of vote count data.

Perez has since last week been marching with hundreds of indigenous Ecuadoreans through the country's central highlands towards the capital Quito to demand a recount. Other civil society groups have announced plans to demonstrate in favour of Perez next week.

The national electoral council (CNE) denied the request for a recount before the results were declared.

“We will continue taking action because an electoral fraud cannot go unpunished,” he said in the Andean city of Riobamba.

The CNE said Lasso, a proponent of pro-market economic policies, obtained 19.74% of the vote and will advance to a runoff against leftist economist Andres Arauz on April 11. Arauz, an ally of former president Rafael Correa, won the most votes in the first round with 32.72%, shy of the margin required to win outright.

The chief prosecutor's and comptroller's offices both called on the CNE to review their computer systems before the second round in response to Perez's allegations. Both Lasso and Arauz said they would be opposed to the intervention of other entities in the electoral process, warning against any vote delay.

“It is time to defend and strengthen democracy,” Lasso said on Twitter.

Reuters 

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