A conservative former banker, Guillermo Lasso has won Ecuador’s presidential run-off vote.
The 65-year-old got to 52.52 per cent of the vote with almost all votes counted, while left-wing candidate Andres Arauz received 47.48 per cent of the vote, the electoral office announced late Sunday.
The two candidates were at the opposite ends of the political spectrum.
Arauz was seen as the protege of former president Rafael Correa and a win would have likely see him continue Correa’s policy of “21st century socialism’’, increased subsidies and oppose the austerity programme demanded by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Lasso meanwhile campaigned on a liberal economic platform and wanted to create jobs and attract foreign investors.
He is a member of the ultra-conservative Opus Dei association and is strictly against same-sex marriage and abortion.
The vote marked Lasso’s third presidential candidacy.
“For years I have dreamt of being allowed to serve Ecuadorians so that the country can advance and we can all have a better life.
“Today you have made that possible. It is the start of a new era of coming together,’’ he told his supporters in the city of Guayaquil.
Arauz conceded defeat and said he would phone his rival to congratulate him.
“This is an electoral failure, but not a political or moral defeat,’’ he told supporters outside his home late Sunday.
The South American country was in a deep economic crisis due to the drop in oil prices and the Coronavirus pandemic.
The previous president, Lenin Moreno, had recently seen his popularity plummet and did not stand for re-election. (dpa/NAN)