Voting underway as Ecuador chooses next president

Quito, Apr 11 (EFE).- Ecuadorians on Sunday set out to choose their next president in a runoff election.

More than 13 million people are eligible to cast their ballots in what is a choice between the socialist Union for Hope candidate Andrés Arauz and his running mate Carlos Rabascall or the conservative Creo-PSC alliance’s Guillermo Lasso and Alfredo Borrero.

Incumbent president Lenin Moreno decided not to seek re-election.

Voting is to last 10 hours through the course of the day.

Diana Atamaint, president of the Ecuadorian electoral council, sad 294 international observers were monitoring the voting process both in person and virtually due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The candidates encompass opposing ends of the political spectrum, meaning it is a decision between the left-wing outlook of those who ran the country between 2007-17 or conservative neoliberalism. Both candidates have leaned into the center-ground during the campaign.

Polling ahead of the election suggested 30% of voters were undecided or planned to void their ballots.

More than 410,000 Ecuadorians living abroad will also cast their ballots in the runoff.

Unlike the first round of voting on 7 February, when the electorate also chose members of parliament, this second round involves a ballot paper with just two options, which should streamline the counting process.

Voting is obligatory for everyone between the ages of 18 and 65 in Ecuador but voluntary for 16 and 17 year-olds as well as older adults.

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