Fri, Apr 07, 2017 - Page 7 News List

Ecuador opposition vows to dispute election tallies

AP, QUITO

Guillermo Lasso said his campaign for the presidency of Ecuador detected irregularities at almost 2,000 polling tables where his opponent handily won in Sunday’s presidential runoff.

Lasso at a news conference on Wednesday presented the strongest argument yet backing his claims that ruling-party candidate Lenin Moreno won the election through fraud.

The Lasso campaign said it detected irregularities such as missing signatures, inverted results and incorrect tallies at 1,795 of the almost 40,000 voting acts processed nationwide.

Those polling places together represent about 600,000 votes, more than double Moreno’s margin of victory.

It presented three such examples and said it would dispute results at the voting centers, some of which Moreno won by a 4-to-1 margin.

“Without a doubt there was fraud,” Lasso said, standing before boxes of voting acts that he said were scanned by campaign poll observers on election night and will form the basis of their challenge.

Moreno’s Alianza Pais party said it would support a revision of the voting acts in question by election authorities.

“There shouldn’t be the smallest shadow of doubt” over the election results, Alianza Pais executive secretary Doris Soliz said.

Hundreds of Lasso supporters on Tuesday night gathered outside the Ecuadorean National Electoral Council’s headquarters in Quito for the third straight night of protests following unruly behavior seen on election night, when supporters crashed through metal barricades in Quito and scuffled with riot police in several cities.

About 200 supporters yesterday remained outside the Quito headquarters.

Electoral authorities said that if necessary they would recount votes at polling centers where results are formally challenged.

They dismissed as “slanderous” accusations of discrepancies between what poll observers witnessed and the voting acts uploaded to the National Electoral Council’s system.

“Some political actors are talking of fraud, but if there was any, it was moral fraud due to so much lying,” National Electoral Council President Juan Pablo Pozo said.

Authorities have 10 days to resolve any disputes.

Roman Catholic bishops on Wednesday issued a statement calling for calm and unity, saying that the country’s peacefulness is in danger.

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