Ecuadorian activists to protest alleged electoral fraud

Activists marching to protest alleged fraud in the Ecuadorian presidential election will arrive in Quito today. The protesters claim that

Cristina Vega Rhor AFP

Photo: Cristina Vega Rhor/AFP

Activists marching to protest alleged fraud in the Ecuadorian presidential election will arrive in Quito today.

The protesters claim that vote tampering stopped indigenous and environmentalist candidate Yaku Perez of the left-wing Pachakutik party from qualifying for an April 11 runoff.

In the February 7 elections, Perez came in third with 19.39% of the vote, losing to Guillermo Lasso of the centre-right Creating Opportunities party by 0.34%. Andrés Arauz, of the left-wing Union for Hope, came first with 32.72%. Perez blamed his third-place finish on fraud and data manipulation. His request for a recount, which would have involved six million ballots, was suspended on February 17 by the National Electoral Council. Perez supporters have held several protests and vigils since the election.

It is unlikely that protests will spur a recount, due to the size such an undertaking would require. Previous demonstrations have remained peaceful and it is unlikely that today’s events will turn violent, especially if Perez makes good on his plans to join the march. Even if Perez ultimately makes it to the presidential runoff, the success of an environmentalist indigenous candidate is low given Ecuador’s political climate, Arauz’s more wide-reaching support, and the economy’s dependency on oil prices.

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