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Loser Lasso to challenge nearly 2,000 vote counts in Ecuador election

Conservative candidate Guillermo Lasso has claimed his campaign for the presidency of Ecuador found irregularities at nearly 2,000 polling station tables where his opponent won in Sunday's election.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Mr Lasso presented the strongest argument yet to back up his claims that ruling-party candidate Lenin Moreno won the election through fraud.

The Lasso campaign said it detected irregularities such as missing signatures, inverted results and incorrect tallies at 1,795 of the nearly-40,000 voting acts processed nationwide.

Those polling places together represent about 600,000 votes, more than double Mr Moreno's margin of victory.

It presented three such examples and said it would dispute results at the voting centres, some of which Mr Moreno won by a four-to-one margin.

"Without a doubt there was fraud," Mr Lasso said, standing before boxes of voting acts he said were scanned by campaign poll observers on election night and will form the basis of their challenge.

Mr Moreno's Alianza Pais party said it would support a revision of the voting acts in question by election authorities.

"There shouldn't be the smallest shadow of doubt" over the election results, said Doris Soliz, executive secretary of the party.

Hundreds of Lasso supporters gathered outside the National Electoral Council's headquarters in Quito for the third straight night of mostly peaceful protests that contrasted with the more unruly behaviour seen on election night, when supporters crashed through metal barricades in Quito and scuffled with riot police in several cities.

On Thursday, some 200 supporters remained outside the Quito headquarters.

Electoral authorities said if necessary they would recount votes at polling centres where results were formally challenged, and dismissed as "slanderous" accusations of discrepancies between what poll observers witnessed and the voting acts uploaded to the National Electoral Council's system.

"Some political actors are talking of fraud, but if there was any, it was moral fraud due to so much lying," said National Electoral Council president Juan Pablo Pozo.

Authorities have 10 days to resolve any disputes.

Amid the continued uncertainty, Roman Catholic bishops issued a statement on Wednesday calling for calm and unity, saying that the country's peacefulness was in danger.

AP

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