Leftist government candidate Lenin Moreno claimed victory in Ecuador’s presidential vote on Sunday, bucking a shift to the right in South America, but the conservative challenger asked for a recount as some supporters took to the streets in protest. A Moreno win would come as a relief for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after conservative candidate Guillermo Lasso vowed to remove Assange from the Ecuadorean embassy in London if he won the runoff. It would also boost the struggling leftist movement in South America after right-leaning governments recently came to power in Argentina, Brazil, and Peru as a commodities boom ended, economies flagged and corruption scandals grew.
The region’s de facto leftist leader, President Nicolas Maduro of crisis-hit Venezuela, profusely congratulated Moreno on Twitter, as did Bolivia’s President Evo Morales. Lasso, a former banker, had promised to denounce the embattled Maduro, who foes say has lurched his country toward dictatorship.
Moreno, a paraplegic former vice-president, had secured 51.1 percent of the votes compared with Lasso’s 48.9 percent, with more than 96 percent of votes counted, according to the electoral council. It has not yet declared a winner.
A somber Lasso, who had earlier proclaimed himself victorious based on a top pollster’s exit poll, disputed the results that would extend a decade-long leftist rule in oil-rich Ecuador.
Full Article: Ecuador leftist claims victory, conservative demands recount | Reuters.