At last, it’s confirmed. Ecuador’s electoral authority confirmed on Wednesday evening the nail-biting presidential election will go to a second round.
The runoff, set for April 2, will provide another big test for Latin America’s battered left. At stake is the legacy of the populist president Rafael Correa, a US-trained economist who has been in power for a decade. His protégé, Lenín Boltaire Moreno, is up against Guillermo Lasso, a conservative former banker.
With 99.5 per cent of votes counted, Mr Moreno led with 39.3 per cent. Mr Lasso had 28.1 per cent. Trailing behind were Cynthia Viteri, a former centre-right lawmaker with 16.3 per cent; Paco Moncayo, a left-leaning former mayor with 6.7 per cent, and Abdalá Bucarám, the son of a disgraced former president, with 4.8 per cent.
The divided opposition is expected to close ranks around Mr Lasso. A victory would effectively end Mr Correa’s leftist revolution, dealing another blow to South American left-wing governments, which have been losing ground. On the other hand, a victorious Mr Moreno would mean a continuation of Mr Correa’s policies.
Should Ecuador swings to the right, with a businessman-turned-president at helm, it would follow on the footsteps of Argentina, Brazil, and Peru.