Ecuador’s Attorney General’s Office will initiate an investigation for alleged electoral fraud at the request of the Pachakutik movement, which nominated the candidate Yaku Pérez in the presidential vote on February 7.
The accusation of electoral fraud indicates ” supposed anomalies in the storage of the digitized information of the minutes of the electoral process,” said the Prosecutor’s Office in a statement .
Tension has grown in the country since the announcement of the official results of the general elections and before the arrival in Quito of an indigenous march to demand the recount of more than half of the votes.
The announcement of the election results occurred with a delay of almost 20 hours due to the need to review several dozen minutes at the last minute.
The official electoral count indicates that there will be a second round in April, as no candidate obtained more than half of the votes. The first place went to correista Andrés Arauz, with 32.72% of the votes . In second place was the center-right Guillermo Lasso (19.74%) and in third position, with a very narrow margin of difference, the indigenous candidate Yaku Pérez (19.39%) .
Perez, who was thus left out of the ballot, has denounced that the electoral process was “full of anomalies” and questioned that the National Electoral Council (CNE) has proclaimed the results. The indigenous candidate is now leading a march of sympathizers of the Pachakutik movement, who are heading to the CNE headquarters in Quito.
“We do not know why it proclaims the results without having addressed the claims that Pachakutik has presented regarding thousands of acts that they consider to have irregularities,” he said in statements to the press as he advanced to Quito in front of hundreds of militants.
The first winner, Arauz, reacted in the last hours, denying the existence of irregularities and condemning the actions of the Prosecutor’s Office. “We reject with absolute forcefulness the interference and rude interference of other functions of the State in the electoral function,” said Arauz in a post on Twitter .
Rain of criticism and warnings
According to the CNE, Lasso finally surpassed Pérez by some 32,600 votes , with which he and Arauz will be the ones who will go through the April 11 ballot in principle.
The electoral body claims to have addressed all the claims of various politicians and movements, including Pachakutik. And yet, the warnings and criticisms keep pouring in.
The Office of the Ombudsman of Ecuador expressed its “alert and concern regarding the series of events presented” in the scrutiny to determine the presidential finalists and considers that given the “narrow difference” between those who dispute the second place, “it is necessary that they be addressed and resolve all administrative or judicial claims that are legally presented. ”
The Electoral Observation Mission of the Organization of American States (OAS) called on the Ecuadorian authorities on Monday “to resolve these claims in strict accordance with the law and to comply with the electoral calendar.”
The inter-American body gave an account of the analysis and recommendations of a preliminary report and defended that those political subjects “who are not satisfied, have the possibility of filing administrative and jurisdictional appeals, provided that they have evidence of inconsistencies and irregularities and that their claims are attached. to current law “.
These latest pronouncements are in addition to the demands raised on Saturday by the State Comptroller General (CGE) and the Prosecutor’s Office, to investigate or audit computer systems in response to Pérez’s complaints.
The winner of the elections, disagree
The investigations have not liked the winner of the elections, Arauz, who sees in the heads of those organizations, Pablo Celi and Diana Salazar respectively, the finger of President Lenín Moreno himself, a staunch antagonist of Correismo despite the fact that in 2017 he was catapulted to the Presidency from that movement.
In a complaint that his legal advisers presented this Sunday to the Contentious Electoral Tribunal (TCE), Arauz pointed out the alleged interference of the Comptroller’s Office and the Prosecutor’s Office, whom he accused of trying to delay the ballot .
The presidential candidate alleged that the Moreno government “cannot last one day longer than the established period”, which ends on May 24, when “the person who is democratically elected must replace him.”
He accused the State’s supervisory institutions of trying to “strike a new blow to democracy with the intention of affecting the second electoral round.”
Faced with the accusations, the president of the CNE, Diana Atamaint, has indicated that the institution she directs “will continue to act as mandated by the Constitution” and will enforce the will of the people expressed at the polls.
” The electoral calendar that leads us to the second electoral round is not changed, ” he wrote on Twitter. Atamaint used this argument this week to avoid postponing the publication of the results of the first round.
Atamaint was in the eye of the storm when on February 12 he negotiated an agreement with Pérez and Lasso for the recount of all the votes in the province of Guayas, and 50% in another 16, a pact that was left on paper by lack of support.
The one who has been satisfied with the situation has been Lasso, who sees his ballot pass confirmed.
“We are going to the second round with encouragement and optimism! With me there will always be space to have a frontal and sincere dialogue that adds to the objective of achieving the Ecuador of the meeting together “He wrote in a trill that was accompanied by the legend:” Democracy has triumphed. ”
March in Quito, with the headquarters of the CNE armored
Meanwhile, Quito is beginning to prepare for the arrival of the so-called National Indigenous March, which has also been seconded by representatives of the unions and other social organizations.
Located on one of the main avenues of Quito, the CNE headquarters is cordoned off and in recent days the shielding has been intensified with crisscrossed fences and concertinas that impede the passage to the area.
Pérez recalled this Monday in Riobamba that the public demonstration “is a valid mechanism of democratic expression”, and insisted that “it must be exercised in a peaceful manner.” “The march to Quito is for the complaint against those who made us fraud and to demand transparency, and to demonstrate that we have legitimacy, and that we are a movement with a moral reserve that others do not have, “he concluded.