More than a week after the first round of the presidential elections in Ecuador, the political future of that country remains shrouded in uncertainty.
The results of the elections on Sunday, February 8, gave Andrés Arauz, a candidate related to former President Rafael Correa, the winner with 32.7% of the votes.
But that result is insufficient to declare him the winner in the first round, so he will have to be measured again at the polls on April 11.
The problem is that it is not yet known who will be his contrincante in that ballot.
The second place is still disputed between the conservative businessman Guillermo Lasso (19.74%) and the indigenous candidate Yaku Pérez (19.38%).
Last Friday, both candidates reached an agreement to carry out a partial vote recount that provided for a review of 100% of the minutes in the province of Guayas, the largest in the country, and 50% of the minutes in another 16 of the 24 provinces of the country.
This agreement began to be questioned over the weekend.
On Sunday, Pérez sent a letter to the CNE with the data of the 16 provinces in which he requested the count, but then Lasso responded with another communication in which denounced an alleged imposition of conditions by its competitor and it ensured that the recount had to be carried out in 100% of the acts of Guayas and 50% of six other provinces, provided that the 16 candidates who ran for the elections agree.
Meanwhile, this Tuesday the plenary session of the CNE failed to approve the report that established how the vote count for the first electoral round should be carried out.
On Monday, both President Lenín Moreno and the OAS Electoral Observation Mission expressed their concern about the CNE’s failure.
But, what are the scenarios in this situation?
The political analyst Pedro Donoso, director of the consulting firm Icare, considers that the electoral situation in Ecuador it is the consequence of a “deep crisis” that that country had been dragging along and that includes different elements, including a legitimacy crisis.
It indicates that during the electoral campaign the candidates had already constructed a speech about the possibility of fraud in the elections, which affects the credibility of the CNE and the electoral process itself.
Added to this situation is the fact that on voting day the panorama of the country was drawn in five different ways through polls, exit polls, quick counts, the CNE press conference and , finally, of the results of the scrutiny. In some of these scenarios it was Lasso who went to the second round and in others it was Pérez.
These elements would add to the confusion of the electorate and it would facilitate the construction by each candidate of a framework to interpret the situation in a way that is favorable to them.
Donoso also questions that Lasso and Pérez have reached an agreement on how the count was going to be carried out when, he affirms, legally it is the CNE’s job to decide on this.
He explains that that deal now faces legal challenges because Lasso has now signaled that it was supralegal.
“We are at a time where the political tries to devour the legal but the legal may have an effect in the future. It can generate a nullity of this process electoral “, it indicates.
Given the current situation, Donoso contemplates three different scenarios that, in principle, will depend on what the CNE decides on the regulation for the review of the electoral process.
“That can give way to the request of one candidate or another and its effects would be contrary,” he points out.
In the short term, he indicates, if the process agreed upon by the CNE ends up favoring Lasso, there could be a “social explosion.”
“The indigenous movement has manifested to be super attentive to what happens. And there we will have in the immediate term social tensions that are going to be very complex“, he warns.
In addition, Donoso ensures that the way in which this crisis is resolved will determine what happens in the second round.
“If Lasso finally goes to the second round Pérez voters are likely to be disappointed and they feel that they have suffered fraud by Lasso. Then, they would not vote for him and their votes would migrate to the null vote or even to Correismo, “he says.
“This could also affect governance in the future. Let’s not forget that the indigenous movement has a very important bloc of assembly members and if they feel disappointed by Lasso’s movement, it is very difficult for them to form a bloc against Correismo,” he adds.
Donoso believes that if the formula adopted by the CNE to review the results of the first round favors Pérez’s candidacy, then the electoral scenario would also change.
“I believe that it would be much more complex for Arauz to defeat Pérez. That’s in the few surveys that were done with that scenario. It is clear that Pérez could finally defeat Correísmo. So, how this crisis is resolved depends on the governance of the next few years in the country, including the second round of April 11, “he concludes.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.