Ecuador's president-elect warns Assange to avoid politics

Posted April 07, 2017

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa (R) celebrates in advance with a birthday cake his April 6 anniversary, next to President elect Lenin Moreno (out of frame) and Vice-president-elect Jorge Glas (L), at the Carondelet presidential palace, during the exchange of guard ceremony in Quito on April 3, / Socialist Lenin Moreno on Monday celebrated victory in his bid to extend a decade of leftist rule in Ecuador but faced allegations of voting fraud from his conservative rival. Lasso has refused to concede and says he will demand a vote-by-vote review and present evidence to support his claims Wednesday in his home city of Guayaquil.

He said Moreno won slightly over 51 per cent of the vote, compared with 49 per cent for opposition challenger Guillermo Lasso, who is contesting the results over allegations of fraud. Even as calls from Latin American governments congratulating Moreno poured in, Lasso, a conservative banker, vowed to keep up the fight against the installation of an "illegitimate" government.

"We're on the correct side of history".

"However, we do note the concerns about the electoral process and expect that they will be fully considered and resolved in a legal and transparent manner", the US State Department said.

"We will contest the results as soon as they are officially declared", Lasso told a news conference. One by pollster Cedatos, which accurately predicted the results of the first round, gave him a victory by six percentage points.

Ahead of Lasso's announcement of the specific details of his challenge to the results Wednesday, head of the National Electoral Council, Juan Pablo Pozo, noted that only 835 electoral rolls - or 2 percent of the more than 40,000 rolls - presented irregularities and would be submitted to a public audit.

The scene was much calmer than the one on election night, when thousands of outraged Lasso supporters shouting "fraud" crashed through metal barricades to nearly reach the entrance of the electoral council's headquarters in Quito. A line of riot police looked on.

Lenín Moreno's election means Mr Assange can remain in his west London foxhole, where he has lived since 2012, to avoid extradition to Sweden on rape charges.

The Organization of American States, which acted as an observer during the election, said it had seen "no discrepancies" between polling station and official results.