Ecuador left the Carnival bridge last Friday with the peace of mind that the struggle to know which candidate will go to the tiebreaker against Andrés Arauz, the winner of the first round of the presidential elections, would be resolved in a context of political good will between the two contenders for second place. But the conciliatory tone with which an agreement was forged between the electoral authority and the two candidates, the conservative Guillermo Lasso and the indigenous leader Yaku Pérez, was blown up before the four holidays were over. This Tuesday marks 10 days since the election day of Sunday, February 7, and no final results have been proclaimed nor has the counting of more than six million votes, out of a total of 11 million, begun. Given this lack of definition, the indigenous movement called protests and roadblocks since Wednesday.
The political agreement reached last Friday after a tense meeting had the acceptance of Lasso and Pérez and the National Electoral Council (CNE) to reopen the polls in 16 of the 24 provinces of the Andean country. They agreed that, when the first ballot had still finished, 50% of the votes would be counted again in 15 of them and 100% in Guayas, a decisive region. However, when the count went by 90%, the conservative candidate began to come back despite the fact that the indigenous leader had maintained a constant advantage of just a few tenths up to that moment. And he retracted.
With these premises, the indigenous leaders called for mobilizations coinciding with the end of the Carnival bridge. The shadow of the violent protests of October 2019, which forced the Government to move its headquarters from Quito to Guayaquil, is still a very vivid memory in Ecuador and on this occasion the protesters promise to take to the streets at least two months until the second back and the result of the first vote is still in limbo.
On Sunday night, Lasso sent out a three-page public statement with a paragraph debunking all the progress in the negotiation. “I confirm that 100% of the minutes of the province of Guayas be opened and, if there is consensus with the other candidates, up to 50% of the following provinces: Los Ríos, Manabí, El Oro, Esmeraldas, Pichincha and Bolívar , which were initially those mentioned publicly by the candidate Yaku Pérez ”, wrote the conservative candidate. “It seems to me inofficing and a waste of time to open 50% of the polls in the other nine provinces that the candidate Pérez has chosen unilaterally, since in them he won me widely and I accept that result. What I would never accept is a possible intention to illegally increase the result in their favor and to my detriment in those provinces ”.
Yaku Pérez, in a message thread on Twitter, confirmed the break between the two. “Why are you backing down on the vote count? What did you and the CNE do that you don’t want Ecuador to know? For you, politics is a game, for me it is the opportunity to change the lives of millions of Ecuadorians. Opening the polls is defending democracy, ”he replied. Since then, the electoral destiny of Ecuador has entered an uncertain course, the outcome of which falls on the National Electoral Council.
The body in charge of supervising the elections must issue a resolution to start the vote count or to cancel it and announce the results. In both cases, you need to make your decision legal. And in both cases, it is expected that there will be disagreement on one side or the other. To resolve the matter, he called a meeting Monday afternoon, which was ultimately called off. He postponed it until Tuesday night, but the agenda did not contain any reference to the issue of the reopening of the polls, despite the message of concern that the country’s president, Lenín Moreno, had sent in the middle of Carnival. “I am concerned about the suspension of the session of the National Electoral Council tonight [por el lunes]. The commitment to act seriously and sensibly towards the country requires transparency and a sense of opportunity in its pronouncement. I have arranged for the Ministry of Finance to meet the request for resources if necessary ”.
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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.