Tensions Rise in Ecuador as Presidential Runoff Too Close to Call

QUITO, Ecuador (Miami Herald/TNS) -

The results of Sunday’s contentious presidential race remained too close to call early Monday, as ruling party candidate Lenín Moreno said he’d likely avoided a runoff and his rivals warned of fraud.

With 82 percent of the vote counted, the National Electoral Council said Moreno had won 39.11 percent of the vote versus his nearest rival, former banker Guillermo Lasso, with 28.27 percent.

If Moreno breaks the 40 percent threshold and has a 10-point lead over his nearest rival, the race is over. Otherwise, he will have to face Lasso and a unified opposition for another round of voting on April 2.

Former congresswoman Cynthia Viteri and former Quito Mayor Paco Moncayo won 16.35 percent and 8.76 percent, respectively.

On Monday, Moreno told local media that votes from Manabí province and from abroad would likely push him over the line.

Meanwhile, Lasso’s running mate, Andres Paez, called on people to surround the National Electoral Council, CNE, to “safeguard” their votes.

“Fraud is coming,” he warned on Twitter Monday. “Everyone must defend this triumph. They want to steal it from us.”

The race will determine who will replace Rafael Correa, a charismatic socialist who has led this country for the last decade.