(CNN Español) — This Sunday the electoral authority reported that Guillermo Lasso, the candidate of the CREO alliance, goes to the second round of the presidential election and it will be measured on April 11 with Andrés Arauz, Rafael Correa’s dolphin. Lasso was in Conclusions of CNN in Spanish to expose the way ahead of the second round and refer to the questions that have been made in the electoral process by Yaku Pérez of the Pachakutik movement (third in the contest), who denounces fraud.
“I am the first interested party in making it clear that the (electoral) process was transparent,” Lasso told Fernando del Rincón.
Lasso sees in the results “an opportunity to lead a great national dialogue and believes that” democracy triumphed. He says that he understood with absolute clarity that the doors must be opened to include proposals other than his own. In fact, only 32,600 votes separate him from Yaku Pérez, the third most voted candidate.
Lasso says that the law does not contemplate the revision of certain acts chosen deliberately – as Yaku Pérez proposed – but rather randomly. Yaku Pérez’s argument – how he told you last week to Fernando del Rincón– is that in 2017, when Lasso lost the election at that time, Lasso himself requested the review of selected minutes. “The announcement of the results has already been given: we are in the second round,” Lasso replied, adding: “Every circumstance is different.”
The speech of Yaku perez has not changed. It says that the proclaimed electoral results are “fraudulent” and that this alleged fraud is hidden “in the computer system” of the elections. To which he added that they will continue to try to challenge the results.
Second round in Ecuador, at risk?
Although the second electoral round in Ecuador is dated, its realization could be at risk. The Prosecutor’s Office announced that it is investigating a complaint of alleged electoral fraud filed by the Pachakutik movement.
The Prosecutor’s Office announced that it obtained the approval of the National Court of Justice to access the servers that store the records and to investigate any person, including members of the National Electoral Council.
After collecting the digital content of the database, the Prosecutor’s Office said that it will carry out a forensic computer science expertise. However, the OAS electoral mission indicated in its preliminary report that it is concerned that “institutions outside the electoral function obstruct the proper development of the electoral process.”
That is the same argument with which some of the CNE councilors and the candidates Lasso and Arauz rejected this type of actions by the Prosecutor’s Office.
Almost in parallel with the pronouncement of the National Electoral Council on the candidates who go to the second round, it announced that a complaint is being investigated for alleged electoral fraud related to what it qualifies as “anomalies in the storage of digitized information of the minutes of the electoral process February 7 last.
The Prosecutor’s Office argues that their investigation requires the retention of the National Electoral Council database and that to proceed, they say, they have the authorization of the National Court of Justice. However, the agency clarifies two things: one, that it is not a seizure and two, that the legal diligence “does not interfere in any way in the ongoing electoral process.”
Added to this is an investigation, this time by the Comptroller General of Ecuador, a body that has also announced that they requested “a computer audit before the second round takes place” electoral next April 11 between the candidates Andrés Arauz from the UNES and Lasso coalition. The announcement of these investigations has made these two political rivals – Arauz and Lasso – have something in common. Both have called these actions interference.
On his Twitter account, Arauz said: “In accordance with the code of democracy and the constitution, there is a single electoral authority here and we reject with absolute forcefulness the interference and rude interference of other functions of the State in the electoral function.”
In accordance with the Code of Democracy and the Constitution, there is a single electoral authority here and we reject with absolute forcefulness the interference and gross interference of other functions of the State in the electoral function. #GolpeALaDemocracia pic.twitter.com/uWQquAtaI4
– Andrés Arauz (@ecuarauz) February 21, 2021
Lasso, along a similar line, noted: «It is important to note that the competent authority within the process is the National Electoral Council. This is not the time to be afraid, to defend people or private interests. It is time to defend and strengthen democracy.
It is important to note that the competent authority within the process is the National Electoral Council.
This is not the time to be afraid, to defend people or private interests.
It is time to defend and strengthen democracy.
– Guillermo Lasso (@LassoGuillermo) February 21, 2021
Furthermore, in Conclusions, Lasso said that “the law says that in the electoral period the highest authority is the CNE,” and that it is “unusual” for other bodies such as the Comptroller’s Office and the Prosecutor’s Office to intervene in the way they have done.
Lasso points out that “you have to turn the page,” in his opinion. “I am interested in clarifying it, but also that they are reported with documentation,” he said. “We cannot continue with the farce of ‘fraud, fraud, fraud’, because Ecuador has to face the future.”
But beyond the political guidelines, there is the word of the experts.
A report from the Electoral Observation Mission of the Organization of American States also shows concern about these actions. They say: «The mission considers that, during an electoral process, it is the electoral bodies that must assume the competences related to the election. And they add that “the mission is concerned that other public entities or authorities intend to assume functions that may affect the attributions of electoral bodies and the election itself and thereby generate possible interference in the electoral process, which is also prohibited by the country’s own regulations.
Both the Prosecutor’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office have said that their requests are framed in the law but the reality is that not all agree and there is great tension towards the ballot.
Who has applauded these actions is the candidate Pérez, who says that the decision of the Prosecutor’s Office will serve to make the electoral process transparent.
With information from Fernando del Rincón, Kay Guerrero and Ana María Cañizares