Hundreds of Indigenous protesters have descended on the Ecuadorean capital Quito demanding a recount of the February 7 presidential election after official results showed that Indigenous activist Yaku Perez did not advance to the runoff vote.
Perez, 51, has been walking through the Andean nation to denounce what he calls manipulation of poll statements that left him in third place, after left-wing economist Andres Arauz and conservative banker Guillermo Lasso.
The elections council on Sunday confirmed that Arauz and Lasso will advance to the April 11 runoff, with the final tally showing Perez less than a percentage point behind Lasso.
Perez wants a recount in 17 of Ecuador’s 24 provinces.
Demonstrators arrived by bus in southern Quito on Tuesday carrying the flag of the Pachakutik party that backs Perez. They congregated in a park and shouted slogans including “transparency yes, fraud no.”
“We are going to give the National Electoral Council one last chance,” Perez said at a rally in a Quito park. “This fraud cannot go unpunished, nobody can hide it.”
He later took boxes with more than 16,000 poll statements that he says show inconsistencies to the elections council.
Candidates can file objections or contest the results of the vote before the electoral council or the elections court.
Arauz won the first round with 32.72 percent of the votes, while Lasso got 19.74 percent and Perez came in third place with 19.39 of the votes.
Perez made a surprisingly strong showing after running on a platform to protect water resources from the mining industry and to recover money from corruption by previous leaders.