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As the social organizations warned, a private pollster anticipated proclaiming the banker Lasso as the winner of the elections. Mainstream media echoed it. Electoral authorities, however, asked to wait until there are official results.
Over 12 million Ecuadorians attend the second electoral round to elect their next president from the Union for Hope (UNES) party candidate Andrez Arauz and Creating Opportunities (CREO) party candidate Guillermo Lasso.
The National Electoral Council (CNE) closed the electoral process at 5 pm and announced that official results will begin to be released after 7:00 pm.
5:45 PM EST: International observers concerned about private pollster conduct
The international electoral observers of the Puebla Group sent a letter to the CNE President Diana Atamaint indicating their concern about the attitude adopted by a private pollster which went ahead in presenting sample data as if they were definitive results.
"Our Electoral Observation Mission in Ecuador expresses its concern about news related to exit polls that would be made public after the close of election day and that could distort the information on the official results," the Mission head Baltazar Garzon said.
In a short message to the nation at 5:50 pm, Atamaint said that the CNE will continue to process the electoral records of all the provinces and will absolutely respect what the Ecuadorian people decide.
5:15 PM EST: Arauz asks citizens to wait and not be fooled
The leftist candidate Arauz emphasized that he won resounding victories in provinces with large populations such as Guayas, Azuay, Manabi, and Los Rios. He pointed out that "nothing has been said yet" and recalled that exit polls are only statistical samples that must later be compared with real data.
Outside the country, where the vote count began earlier, the UNES candidate obtained 64 percent of the votes while Lasso achieved only 36 percent.
Arauz said that in one hour his party will have results transmitted by its delegates, which will ratify the triumph of the Ecuadorian people. He also asked citizens not to be fooled by a pollster that has historically failed several times.
5:00 PM EST: Authorities ask to wait for official results
Shortly before 5 pm, the Ecuadorian electoral authorities reminded that the results of exit polls carried out by private companies are only indicative of electoral trends. The authorities indicated that official data will start to be published as of 7 pm.
The pollster Clima Social indicated that it will not present the results at 5 pm and will wait for the official count. This is due to the fact that the electoral law prohibits the publication of data if there is a "technical tie" between candidates, that is if there is a difference of less than 3 percent between both candidates.
4:30 PM EST: The UNES party able to publish a quick count from 5:00 p.m.
On Sunday afternoon, UNES presidential candidate Andres Arauz went to a polling station in Quito to obtain his voting certificate since he is registered in Mexico where he was doing his doctorate studies in economics.
After complying with this procedure, the leftist leader announced that his party's movement deployed 39,000 delegates in all the electoral precincts of the country to control the counting of the votes in the face of the possible threat of fraud. Regarding this, he asked the private pollsters to maintain responsible behavior to avoid confusion in the population.
“The rule of exit polls says that pollsters should refrain from publishing results if the margin of difference is minimal,” he said and added that “we are absolutely responsible with the democracy of our country. We also have our own results but we do not want them to want to publish results that do not conform to reality as happened in 2017 ”.
Arauz confirmed that his political organization established its own computer center to process the results sent by his delegates at the national level. With this information, the UNES party is in a position to offer data for a quick count at the national level.
3:45 PM EST: Possible false data from an exit poll caused controversy
A pollster agency linked to right-wing presidential candidate Guillermo Lasso will release fake exit poll results at 17:00 hours local time, giving Lasso a 3-point advantage over Arauz, the UNES coalition warned. The purpose is to create confusion over the final results and claim a technical tie to invalidate the vote, the organization said in its Twitter account.
"We call the international community, the public, national and international observers to remain alert and denounce this new attempt to tarnish this democratic journey," UNES said.
The president of Ecuador's National Electoral Council (CNE) Dianna Atamaint confirmed that there will not be a quick count of the vote tallies in Sunday's presidential elections, indicating that the official and definitive results will be known around 10:00 PM local time.
The voting has progressed orderly and without incidents, according to the CNE. Thousands of Ecuadoran expatriates are also voting abroad.
Arauz seems solidly positioned to claim victory, but since he won the first round in February, he has already faced several attempts to declare the vote null and void by his opponents and some government officials
Candidates Guillermo Lasso, a 65-year-old elite banker, and Andres Arauz, a 36-year-old progressive former Central Bank official, have very different visions of how to lead Ecuador out of the pandemic and the current economic recession, but also on the role of international banking, regional integration, extractivism and more.
3:00 PM EST - Lasso rejoices in democratic celebration while analysts fear early victory declaration
Conservative banker and candidate for the CREO coalition Guillermo Lasso celebrated the democratic celebration of Sunday's presidential runoff elections, stating his hopes to achieve victory, and in his words, "make Ecuador a country of opportunities and 'freedom.'"
Meanwhile, commentators and political analysts had anticipated fears that in the absence of a quick vote tally, private pollster companies linked to Lasso will declare an early, unofficial victory in an attempt to jump the gun and claim fraud in the case of an officially declared victory for leftwing Union for Hope coalition candidate Andres Arauz by the National Electoral Council (CNE) at 10:00 pm.
At the same time, the third-place candidate not participating in Sunday's runoff election, the indigenous environmental candidate Yaku Perez, called on his supporters to cast null votes, a position similarly endorsed today by the influential New York Times, which also published on Sunday an extensive feature of the U.S. Embassy-aligned candidate who previously cried fraud during the first round of elections in February after narrowly losing out to Lasso.
Vaya, cambian de estación pero no de encuestadora, desde canal de TV quiteño saldrán con el "notición" de que Lasso es el ganador con diferencia superior a 7 puntos.— alexis moncayo (@alexismoncayo) April 11, 2021
Claro, la misma estrategia de 2017.
En Tarqui, parroquia rural de Cuenca junto a mi madre Inés Guartamble Guiñansaca ejercimos el voto, en resistencia al fraude.— Yaku Pérez Guartambel (@yakuperezg) April 11, 2021
Aspiramos que el nuevo gobernante escuche y sea sensible de las necesidades emergentes de nuestro pueblo. pic.twitter.com/oqW1Yb3aCJ
2:00 PM EST - Ecuadorean migrants in the Bronx vote under inclement weather conditions
Despite the rain and wind, Ecuadorean residents in the United States, specifically in the New York borough of The Bronx, went out to cast their vote in the presidential election this Sunday.
Long lines and fears of not being allowed to exercise their right to vote have not stopped the Ecuadorean community in the United States' largest city from voting, as they did during the first round of elections, constituting 36% of all Ecuadorean voters abroad, along with their compatriots residing in Canada, during the previous vote in February.
"The patriotism of our migrants in the Bronx! Despite the rain, they turn out to vote - EVERYONE to exercise their right to vote!"
1:30 PM EST - National Electoral Council confirms there won't be a quick count of vote tallies
More than 80,000 election workers throughout the national territory will ensure the safe and expedient scanning of ballots to safeguard the vote and facilitate the CNE's dissemination of the results.
12:00 PM EST - Guayaquil lines extremely long; National Electoral Council claims normality
In southern Guayaquil, video footage exposes long lines and significant accumulations of voters. Meanwhile, the National Electoral Council reports that the electoral day has developed normally, without any disturbances.
11:30 AM EST - Ecuadorean residents in Venezuela take to the polls
About 13,000 Ecuadorians were called to exercise their vote in Venezuela, 11,000 in Caracas, and 2,000 in Valencia. Polls opened at 9:00 AM local time and will close at 7:00 pm.
Once the process closes, the results are scanned and sent to Ecuador. Venezuela has 30% of Ecuadorean voters in Latin America and the Caribbean, and local reports show that they have turned out to vote massively, with special attention given to biosecurity measures.
"About 13 thousand #Ecuadoreans in #Venezuela are called to vote in the 2nd round to elect the new president. They have turned out massively and complying with biosecurity measures #EcuadorElige."
11:00 AM EST - Long lines and agglomeration reported at polling stations in Imbabura province and Genoa, Italy
Videos shared on social media by assemblywoman Esther Cuesta Santana and Ecuador's emergency 911 service show equally long lines and concentrations of voters in Genoa, Italy, and Imbabura provinces Sunday's presidential election.
In Genoa, consular authorities expanded the polling precinct due to enormous, hours-long lines during the first round of elections in February. In contrast, in Imbabura, close-circuit television footage shows voters waiting around the block to get into the polling station after opening at 7:00 AM local time.
10:30 AM EST - Vice-presidential candidate for the Union for Hope (UNES) casts his vote
Carlos Rabascall, the vice-presidential candidate for UNES presidential hopeful Andres Arauz, has cast his vote at the Cotopaxi Academy in northern Quito.
"I have exercised my right to vote. I call for peace, sanity, and political maturity. We hope that democracy and the decision of Ecuadorians expressed at the polls will be respected," Rabascall said on his Twitter account.
He continued by assuring that "the peace, tranquility, and stability of Ecuadorian families are at stake in this election. We are going to win because that is what the people have decided!"
��️#EcuadorDecide2021���� Candidato vicepresidencial @rabascallcarlos de @UNESECUADOR sufragó en la Academia Cotopaxi, en el norte de #Quito.— En Clave Política (@EnClavePolitik) April 11, 2021
Ahora acompañará a su binomio #AndresArauz (@ecuarauz) en esta jornada electoral. pic.twitter.com/0HYpGKqRi9
10:00 AM EST - Voting continues with apparent normality
Voting in the early hours of this Sunday's presidential election continues with apparent normality and calm reports teleSUR Quito correspondent Denisse Herrera.
Be sure to follow her at @denisseteleSUR as well as @OrlandoPerezEC for live updates and coverage of today's historic election for Ecuador, the region, and on a global scale, as well.
9:30 AM EST - Polls open and voting begins in Ecuador
Polls throughout Ecuador opened at 7:00 AM local time as tens of thousands of Ecuadoreans lined up to cast their votes. Here we share some polling centers' images from election observers with the Progressive International observation mission in Quito.
9:00 AM EST - Ecuadoreans vote in Spain; electoral observers begin a mission in Quito
Thousands of Ecuadorians are voting this Sunday in Spain with absolute normality to elect their country's next president. In total, 179,614 people in Spain are registered to vote today, which means that Ecuadoreans in this country account for 43% of the total vote abroad. Voting precincts are open in Spain from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m local time.
In southern Quito, the capital of Ecuador, observers from the Interamerican Union of Electoral Bodies (UNIORE) began their mission before polls opened to observe and report on the day's democratic proceedings.
8:30 AM EST - President of the National Electoral Council (CNE) calls Ecuadoreans to vote
Listen to the statements made by the President of the National Electoral Council of Ecuador from the CNE's main office at the beginning of the second round of the presidential elections in the Andean nation.
She urges the media and political organizations to await the official results, which will be provided by the CNE at 10:00 pm local time, and thanks to the 294 international observers present for their commitment to the country's democratic process.
8:00 AM EST - Election observers harassed by police after meeting with lawmaker Fausto Jarrin Teran
The electoral observation mission of the U.S. human rights organization CODEPINK currently in Ecuador to observe today's presidential elections was accosted by police as it was leaving a meeting with a former Ecuadorean ambassador. Local witnesses described the harassment as a small taste of what they've been living through over the past four years under Lenin Moreno's government.
BREAKING: With presidential elections only hours away and in the presence of electoral observers from @codepink, security forces arbitrarily harassed elected lawmaker @Sandinin. Jarrin has long been a target of the regime due to his close ties to Rafael Correa. #Elecciones2021Ec pic.twitter.com/EDA8wHh335— Ecuador On Q (@Ecuador_On_Q) April 10, 2021