WikiLeaks' Assange a victor in Ecuador presidential runoff
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 04, 2017,
Apr 04, 2017, 14:29
Lasso vowed to challenge the result, however, saying his campaign had evidence of an attempt to rig the results.
Socialist Lenin Moreno declared himself the "president of all Ecuadorans" yesterday after a runoff election win that will extend a decade of leftist rule, but his conservative rival refused to accept the result.
Outside the region, the election was being closely watched by supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been living under asylum at Ecuador's embassy in London since 2012.
"I can not accept these results because they do not reflect the will of the people", he told a press conference.
And while the National Electoral Council has not declared a victor yet, across the Atlantic there was one man who seemed to be gloating. Outgoing President Rafael Correa, a fiery critic of the U.S., granted Assange asylum.
But Lasso persevered on Monday, holding a rally under the pouring rain in his coastal hometown of Guayaquil and vowing to keep battling what he said was fraud. "So we can not recognize the illegitimate results", the rightist banking magnate said on Twitter on Monday. Conservative presidential candidate Guillermo Lasso had vowed to roll back that welcome mat and remove Assange within 30 days of winning office, making global headlines and spooking Assange's supporters. One by pollster Cedatos, which accurately predicted the results of the first round, gave him a victory by six percentage points.
Hundreds of Lasso supporters again swarmed in front of electoral council offices in the capital, Quito, and Guayaquil, waving yellow, blue and red Ecuadorean flags and chanting "No to fraud!" and "We don't want to be Venezuela!"
Lasso tweeted photos showing what he said were original votes for him that were changed by electoral officials and on Monday presented his complaint to the Organization of American States, which has an observation mission in Ecuador.
Correa said the exit polls had "lied".
Following his win, Moreno, who is wheelchair-bound from being shot by robbers in 1998, said, "I will be the president of everyone, but especially the poor".
He also accuses the ruling Country Alliance party of covering up corruption scandals, stifling media, and stacking institutions with supporters in the vein of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, a Correa ally. Moreno, 64, also benefited from last-minute doubts that the pro-business Lasso if elected would gut social programs that have endeared poor voters to Correa's "Citizens' Revolution".
"A banker can not care about poverty", said 81 year-old government supporter Hugo Moreno as he smoked a cigarette at a bus stop in cloudy Andean capital Quito.
Economists say that the next president will have a hard task slashing a deficit that ballooned in the final years of Correa's government, as oil prices crashed and the dollarized Ecuadorean economy lost competitiveness compared to its neighbors.
Assange commented on the election result in a provocative Twitter message, referring to accusations from Correa's camp that Lasso had money stashed in offshore accounts.
Assange and Correa bonded in 2010 when WikiLeaks began releasing US State Department cables.
"I cordially invite Lasso to leave Ecuador within 30 days (with or without his tax haven millions)", he wrote, alluding to allegations the banker had stashed money overseas.