Ecuador: Court rejects vote recount claim

Left-wing Alliance for Hope candidate Andres Arauz and right-wing Creating Opportunities candidate Guillermo Lasso will face each other in the April run-off election.

United States-backed “ecosocialist” candidate Yaku Perez has been excluded from Ecuador’s runoff election scheduled for April 11, following a decision by Ecuador’s Contentious Electoral Tribunal (TCE) to reject a request for a vote recount of more than 50% of ballots cast.

The judges unanimously issued the ruling two days before leftist Alliance for Hope candidate Andres Arauz and the right-wing Creating Opportunities candidate Guillermo Lasso kick off their campaigns for the run-off election.

Arauz won the largest number of votes on February 7, against 15 other candidates. Arauz 32.7% of the vote, but fell short of the 40% needed to win the election outright.

Perez requested a recount of more than 20,000 tally sheets from the first election round on March 8, due to alleged inconsistencies.

“The claim of widespread fraud has no legal basis, so we ratify the results issued by the National Electoral Council (CNE) on February 17,” said the TCE.

Perez called the ruling “deplorable” and said “the TCE has just attacked the people’s will, wounding Ecuador’s democracy”.

In early March, the CNE reviewed 31 of the nearly 40,000 electoral records nationwide, on Perez’s insistence. In that recount, he received another 612 votes. However, that did not change the percentage of votes he got on February 7.

Indigenous groups have been divided over Perez’s candidacy.

[Compiled from .]