Ruling party candidate declared victor in Ecuador election


Assange, who has been holed up in Ecuador's London embassy since 2012, had a personal stake in the race: opposition candidate Guillermo Lasso had threatened to kick him out of the embassy within 30 days if he won the election.

"We congratulate the Ecuadoran people, who have legally and legitimately elected their president", Pozo said.

The 45-year-old Australian buoyantly turned that threat around on Lasso as official results showed the conservative ex-banker on track to lose.

Ecuadorian ruling party candidate Lenin Moreno (C) and his wife Rocio Gonzalez attend the change of guard ceremony in Quito, Ecuador, on April 3, 2017.

Electoral authorities said if necessary they would recount votes at polling centres where results were formally challenged, and dismissed as "slanderous" accusations of discrepancies between what poll observers witnessed and the voting acts uploaded to the National Electoral Council's system.

Mr Lasso has already indicated he will challenge the vote, having earlier alleged fraud.

Hundreds of Lasso supporters gathered outside the National Electoral Council's headquarters in Quito for the third straight night of mostly peaceful protests that contrasted with the more unruly behaviour seen on election night, when supporters crashed through metal barricades in Quito and scuffled with riot police in several cities.

Likewise, the candidate of Creando Oportunidades (CREO) assured that if in the results of the recount, his official opponent Lenin Moreno is a victor, he will recognize the triumph.

With Ecuador's economy slated to shrink by 2.7 percent this year as oil prices remain low, analysts had been anticipating that Lasso would rally support from the 60 percent of voters who backed anti-Correa candidates in the first round and join the growing list of Latin American nations - Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Venezuela - shifting to the right in recent elections.

For weeks Ecuadoreans polarised by 10 years of Correa's iron-fisted rule had been bracing for a contested vote.

"I'm going to be the president of everyone but fundamentally those who are poorest", said Moreno.