Ecuadorians vote in hotly contested presidential election

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Ecuadorians vote in hotly contested presidential election

Ecuadorians are voting for their next president. Leftist candidate Lenin Moreno hopes to garner enough support to clinch an uncontested victory, but opinion polls suggest the race is too close to call, and a runoff vote seems likely.

CGTN’s Dan Collyns reports from Quito, Ecuador.

Ecuadorians vote in hotly contested presidential election

Ecuadorians are voting for their next president, in a hotly contested race too close to call. Opinion polls show that a runoff vote is likely. CGTN's Dan Collyns reports from Quito, Ecuador.

There were angry scenes as supporters of the leading opposition candidate Guillermo Lasso confronted those loyal to the governing party, Alianza Pais.

Ruling party candidate Lenin Moreno and Lasso’s running mate Andres Paez both voted in the same polling station.

Amid the chaos, Lasso accompanied his vice presidential candidate, telling journalists the election has a wider significance beyond the country.

“There will be a second round, and in this round democracy and liberty will win, not just in Ecuador but also in Latin America,” Lasso said.

Moreno, a leading advocate for the rights of disabled people, cast his vote soon after.

“The elections are a party, a democratic party which the people must enjoy because they are choosing the destiny they will meet in the future,” Moreno said.

Outside, the party faithful gathered to voice their support for him.But as voters left the polls, it was clear opinions were divided.

Patricio Obando said he voted for Lasso, “because a change is needed after 10 years of a national tragedy.”

On the other side, Anita Rueda expressed her support of Moreno.

“I’ve always supported this government with all my soul because it’s the people’s movement, which cares about the forgotten ones,” she said.

Even as voters cast their ballots, it already seemed clear the election would be tight.

The mood is different from previous elections. For the first time in a long time, there’s a sense the outcome is far from certain.

No candidate is expected to win enough votes in the first round, forcing a runoff in April.

Gabriel Hidalgo, a political analyst, offered his perspective.

“Whichever candidate wins, no matter their ideological background, they will face a mounting debt, corruption allegations and many demands from different sectors,” Hidalgo said.

A crucial election watched not only in Ecuador but throughout Latin America.

Eric Farnsworth on Ecuador election

Eric Farnsworth, Vice President of the Council of the Americas spoke with CGTN’s Susan Roberts about what’s at stake for Ecuador in this election.