Juan Pablo Pozo, president of Ecuador's National Electoral Council. Photo: Prensa Latina

QUITO.— The head of Ecuador's National Electoral Council (CNE), Juan Pablo Pozo, announced February 21 that voting trends noted thus far indicate that a second round in the country's Presidential elections will be required, although no announcement will be made until a final, definitive count of the ballots cast February 19 is completed.

A marked trend has been observed, and if this is the case, there will be a second round, Pozo said during a press conference, while reporting that with 94.6% of the ballots counted, Lenín Moreno representing the currently governing Alianza País, had garnered 39.2% of the votes; while conservative Guillermo Lasso had received 28.37%.

Asked about the likelihood that, once the remaining votes were counted, a candidate could reach the 40% required to be declared the winner in the first round, Pozo responded, "That's not possible."

He emphasized that the official announcement regarding a second round will only be made when 100% of the votes have been tallied, while noting that results from six of the country's 24 provinces remained to be counted.

Minutes before the Electoral Council president spoke, Lenín Moreno announced that he was ready for a second round, saying, in the event of a second round, "We are already in our campaign uniforms," reiterating that in the February 19 voting he had a lead over Lasso of more than a million votes.

If a second round is required, it will take place April 2.

In addition to voting for a new President and Vice President in the February 19 elections, some 12.8 million registered voters chose 137 members of the National Assembly and five representatives to the Andean Parliament.

Conducted additionally at the same time was a consultation vote on the issue of authorities elected by popular vote being allowed, or not, to deposit their personal fortunes in so-called tax havens.