Former Vice President Lenin Moreno, candidate of the governing Alianza Pais, will become the country's next president, initial voting results show; though his conservative rival has demanded a recount.
According to CNE, Ecuador's national electoral body, Moreno had edged ahead of former banker Guillermo Lasso 51.16% to 48.84% in an April 2 runoff election, with nearly 99% of votes tallied. Moreno claimed victory in Ecuador's capital of Quito, according to a Reuters report.
However, Lasso has already requested a recount, and had claimed that he himself was the real winner in the presidential runoff earlier on April 2. Some exit polls had shown Lasso leading Moreno 53% to 47%.
Moreno's apparent win would mark a broad continuation of outgoing leftist President Rafael Correa's policies. Moreno served as Correa's vice president between 2007 and 2013. It would also mark a reversal from a broader shift within Latin America's political landscape away from the socialist ideology that has dominated the region for the past several half-century.
The election comes as Ecuador faces a mounting fiscal deficit for the OPEC member nation amid still-weak oil prices. GDP shrank more than 2% in 2016 as oil-related exports shrank by nearly a third. The country's debt burden shot to 40% of GDP from just 18% five years earlier. Fitch Ratings said recently that it expects that figure to "continue to grow rapidly" in the absence of significant fiscal adjustment.
The new president will take office on May 24.