Ecuador's president-elect warns Assange to avoid politics

Ecuador's president-elect warns Assange to avoid politics

Ecuadorean leftist Lenin Moreno won Sunday's presidential election after a tight contest with his right-wing opponent.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Mr Lasso presented the strongest argument yet to back up his claims that ruling-party candidate Lenin Moreno won the election through fraud.

Electoral council president Juan Pablo Pozo said, the results are "irreversible", adding there was no indication of fraud.

"We fully and absolutely guarantee that. political organizations submit objections, challenges and appeals through the institutional and legal channels of a constitutional State of rights and justice", said the leader of the CNE. Moreno, Correa's former vice president, has vowed to uphold it.

"We're not afraid of the miserable cowards who are on the wrong side of history", he told a crowd of a few thousand supporters on Monday.

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.

Mr Lasso has until 12 April to challenge the result officially, the electoral council said.

Correa accused Lasso supporters of trying to deny the results and provoke violence.

Fulfilling a new commitment - enshrined in Ecuador's 2008 constitution - to prohibit foreign military bases in the country, in 2009 Correa ordered the withdrawal of USA troops from the Manta military base, established in 1978, after its most recent 10-year lease expired. Moreno had on Monday declared himself the "president of all Ecuadorans" as the last results were counted from Sunday's runoff election.

The majority of voters also said they were hungry for change amid ongoing corruption allegations related to bribes that Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht paid to officials in Correa's government and a $12m contracting scandal at state-run PetroEcuador.

But in the final weeks of the race, Moreno inched ahead in polls amid an aggressive campaign led by Correa to cast Lasso as a wealthy, out-of-touch politician who profited from the country's 1999 banking crisis. Moreno, 64, also benefited from last-minute doubts that the pro-business Lasso if elected would gut social programs that have endeared poor voters to Correa's "Citizens' Revolution".

Ecuador's President-elect Lenin Moreno warned Julian Assange on Tuesday not to meddle in the country's politics, after the WikiLeaks founder taunted a rival candidate following his loss.

Conservative candidate Guillermo Lasso has claimed his campaign for the presidency of Ecuador found irregularities at almost 2,000 polling station tables where his opponent won in Sunday's election.

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