The 36-year-old is a protege of former President Rafael Correa and goals to finish years of painful austerity measures.

Ecuadorean economist Andres Arauz received the primary spherical of the nation’s presidential election on Sunday, bringing the Andean nation a step nearer to ending years of painful austerity made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 36-year-old protege of former President Rafael Correa advances to an April 11 runoff, but it surely was nonetheless too near name whether or not he would face environmental activist Yaku Perez or conservative banker Guillermo Lasso.

The surprisingly robust displaying by Perez, who’s operating on a platform of banning industrial mining, shakes up an election that has to this point been outlined by duelling ideologies of social welfare versus free markets.

Nationwide Electoral Council Diana Atamaint mentioned the short rely confirmed Arauz with 31.5 % of the vote, Perez with 20.04 % and Lasso with 19.97 %. The rely was based mostly on some 2,400 ballot statements from a consultant pattern of voting centres.

However the council’s web site as of 10pm native time (03:00 GMT) confirmed that it had solely processed about 17 % of the votes.

Shortly after the announcement, Perez instructed reporters that he had received sufficient votes to enter the second spherical and mentioned he was holding a vigil outdoors the election council’s headquarters in Quito to stop vote manipulation.

Supporters of Ecuador’s presidential candidate Yaku Perez in Quito. He’s virtually neck-and-neck with banker Gulliermo Lasso for second place in response to the short rely [Cecilia Puebla/Reuters]

“We’ve include a plan to carry a vigil, in an energetic and respectful method, however to defend the desire of the overwhelming majority of Ecuadoreans who see hope for a change,” mentioned Perez.

Lasso led a celebratory rally from the nation’s largest metropolis, Guayaquil, the place supporters shouted “Second spherical” and “Lasso president.”

“After we see 100% of the ballot statements reviewed, it will likely be reconfirmed that we’re within the second spherical,” Lasso mentioned.

President Lenin Moreno, a former Correa ally, drove a pro-market agenda in hopes of reviving a sluggish and closely indebted economic system. His efforts sparked an indignant backlash, with a proposed gas hike resulting in violent road protests in 2019.

Moreno, who took workplace in 2017, didn’t search a second time period.

To keep away from the April 11 runoff, Arauz wanted greater than 50 % of legitimate votes, or 40 % with 10 proportion factors greater than the runner-up.

The severity of the coronavirus outbreak left our bodies uncollected on the streets of Guayaquil final yr, whereas lockdowns imposed by different nations to deal with the illness have slashed demand and costs for oil, Ecuador’s most important export.