Ecuador Internacional

PanAm Podcast: Democracy is at Stake in Ecuador after Electoral Fraud

PanAm Post - David Unsworth 12/05/2017

Following a decade in power, Rafael Correa’s decision to stand down set up a hotly contested Ecuadorian presidential election between former vice president Lenin Moreno, of Correa’s ruling Alianza Pais party, and former Guayas governor Guillermo Lasso, of the Movimiento CREO. Lasso enjoyed the support of a broad coalition, including Cynthia Viteri of the Partido Social Cristiano, and Paco Moncayo of the Izquierda Democratica, and was widely expected to ride a wave of Correa-fatigue to the presidency.

Leading pollster Cedatos released an exit poll showing Lasso besting Moreno by a 53% to 47% margin. The ruling party’s prospects looked grim. Initial returns showed Lasso with a modest lead. Then the National Electoral Council’s website “crashed”. According to official statements, it went down for 18 minutes. When the system came back online, Moreno had mysteriously turned a two point deficit into a two point margin of victory.

Mary Anastasia O’Grady of the Wall Street Journal was one of few American journalists to write about the election, subsequent allegations of electoral fraud, and the perilous path for the future of democracy in Ecuador. O’Grady notes, “Rafael Correa was carrying a lot of baggage, because during his ten years in power, Ecuador lost any semblance of transparency…and there are very strong allegations of a lot of corruption during his time in power, so he had a lot riding on the importance of his candidate winning that night. When Cedatos reported that exit polls showed Guillermo Lasso well ahead of Mr. Correa’s candidate Lenin Moreno, that was really troubling for the government.”

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