The Ecuadorian ruling party candidate Lenin Moreno is beating his rival and conservative opposition candidate Guillermo Lasso in the first round. With 50 percent of the votes counted it is still unclear if a runoff is required to decide the new president.
With over 50 percent of the ballots counted, Moreno, a disabled former vice president, secured some 38.26 percent of the vote, compared to around 29.86 percent cast for Lasso. A candidate is required to gain over 40 percent of the vote and a 10-percentage-point difference to avoid the second round of polls on April 2.
A nominee for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize, Moreno served as Vice President of the country from 2007 to 2013, under President Rafael Correa. It was Correa, serving his third presidential term, who had nominated Morena to run for Alianza País, the socialist political movement in Ecuador.
Morena ran on a promise to continue Correa’s policies and gained votes by promising benefits for the disabled, single mothers and the elderly.
His opponent conservative businessman Lasso, who already lost in the 2013 presidential race against Correa, campaigned on a platform to revive the oil-dependent economy.
The Conservative vowed to create a million jobs if elected president and promised to expel WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from the nation’s embassy in London.