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07 April 2017, 02:30 | Ignacio Smith
Guillermo Lasso refuses to concede in Ecuador election
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, 2017.br / 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.
However, Lasso refused back down saying he would challenge the results as his supporters protested the election results in the Andean capital Quito on Tuesday.
With over 99 percent of the votes processed, Lenin Moreno, a candidate from Ecuador's ruling PAIS Alliance, has over 51 percent of the votes, while Lasso has 48.85 percent.
Key to Lasso's challenge of the results in all of Ecuador's 24 provinces were three exit polls that showed him winning.
"If in the recount of votes they win by a vote, here I am to recognize that victory", Lasso said, while alleging that the counting of votes involved "fraud" that he described as "brazen".
"Some political actors are talking of fraud, but if there was any, it was moral fraud due to so much lying", said National Electoral Council president Juan Pablo Pozo.
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.
The Organization of American States said its mission of electoral observers that visited at random 480 voting centres nationwide found no discrepancies between the tallies and the official results and encouraged Lasso to issue complaints through institutional channels.
Likewise, the candidate of Creando Oportunidades (CREO) assured that if in the results of the recount, his official opponent Lenin Moreno is a victor, he will recognize the triumph.
Fulfilling a new commitment - enshrined in Ecuador's 2008 constitution - to prohibit foreign military bases in the country, in 2009 Correa ordered the withdrawal of USA troops from the Manta military base, established in 1978, after its most recent 10-year lease expired.
But in the final weeks of the race, Moreno inched ahead in polls amid an aggressive campaign led by Correa to cast Lasso as a wealthy, out-of-touch politician who profited from the country's 1999 banking crisis. Moreno said he would let him stay.
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