Conservative banker Lasso wins presidential run-off in Ecuador

BY GNA - Apr 12, 2021 at 6:00pm 100

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Conservative banker Guillermo Lasso has won Ecuador's presidential run-off vote.

The 65-year-old got to 52.52 per cent of the vote with almost all votes counted, while left-wing candidate Andres Arauz received 47.48 per cent of the vote, the electoral office announced late Sunday.

The two candidates are at opposite ends of the political spectrum.

Arauz is seen as the protege of former president Rafael Correa and a win would have likely seen him continue Correa's policy of "21st century socialism," increase subsidies and oppose the austerity programme demanded by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Lasso meanwhile campaigned on a liberal economic platform and wants to create jobs and attract foreign investors.

He is a member of the ultra-conservative Opus Dei association and is strictly against same-sex marriage and abortion.

The vote marked Lasso's third presidential candidacy.

"For years I have dreamed of being allowed to serve Ecuadorians so that the country can advance and we can all have a better life," he told supporters in the city of Guayaquil, according to newspaper El Universo.

"Today you have made that possible. It is the start of a new era of coming together," he said.

Arauz conceded defeat and said he would phone his rival to congratulate him.
"This was an electoral failure, but not a political or moral defeat," he told supporters outside his home late Sunday.

The South American country is in a deep economic crisis due to the drop in oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic.

The previous president, Lenin Moreno, had recently seen his popularity plummet and did not stand for re-election.