By Enyichukwu Enemanna
Vote counting has ended in Sunday’s national election in Ecuador, with no presidential candidate able to garner enough votes to be declared winner.
A run-off has been slated for October that will likely see the ally of a convicted former president slug it out with the son of a banana tycoon.
Results from the National Electoral Council indicates that leftist Luisa González is in the lead, with about 33% of votes cast.
She had been the frontrunner coasting to victory before a surprise came from former lawmaker Daniel Noboa who received about 24% votes even though he never placed above fifth place in previous polls.
To be declared a winner, a candidate needs at least 50% of the vote, or a minimum of 40% with a 10-point lead over the closest rival.
Christian Zurita who replaced the Assassinated Fernando Villavicencio, trailed at third position with 16%.
“For me, it is an honor to be in third place in these elections,” Zurita said while wearing a bulletproof vest. “We have a lot to be proud of. This candidacy has been a light for the country because it is based on the moral stature of those of us who have fought for this country and even died.”
Villavicencio’s killing earlier in the month while leaving a campaign rally in Quito, the capital, raised apprehension over unprecedented violence in a country they considered peaceful up until three years ago.
The election took place under the watch of tens of thousands of police officers and soldiers deployed across the country, partly in response to the assassination of Villavicencio.
General Fausto Salinas, Commander General of the National Police, said one person was arrested for false voting, two for harassment and resisting arrest and more than 20 for unlawfully carrying guns.