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Lasso Wins Ecuador Presidency in Upset Over Socialist Rival

Ecuadorean banker Guillermo Lasso pulled off a surprise win in Sunday’s presidential runoff against socialist economist Andres Arauz, putting the country on track to maintain open market policies rather than

Guillermo Lasso

Ecuadorean banker Guillermo Lasso pulled off a surprise win in Sunday’s presidential runoff against socialist economist Andres Arauz, putting the country on track to maintain open market policies rather than return to socialism.

People count votes at May 24th school during the second round of presidential election, in Quito, Ecuador April 11, 2021. REUTERS/Santiago Arcos

The victory, welcome news for investors unnerved over Arauz’s promises of heavy social spending in the face of weak state finances, bucks a trend in Latin America of recent ballot box wins for the left in Argentina, Bolivia and Chile.

But Lasso, who takes office on May 24, still faces a challenging task in restarting a sluggish economy struggling after last year’s brutal coronavirus outbreak, which has spiked in recent months as vaccination efforts stalled.

“It’s a day on which all Ecuadoreans have decided their future,” Lasso said at a rally, where jubilant supporters chanted, “Lasso President!”

He added, “They have used their vote to express the need for change and the desire for better days.”

Lasso secured 52.5% of the vote versus 47.5% for Arauz, according to the National Electoral Council, which will not formally declare him the winner until after a review of poll statements marked for follow-up.

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