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Ecuador will hold its first round of presidential elections on February 19. Eight candidates will be on the ballot and the final runoff is scheduled for April 2. The country’s President Rafael Correa is not running in the election for the first time in more than a decade. The ruling PAIS Alliance party will be presented by Lenin Moreno, a former vice president.
According to the latest poll data, ex-banker Guillermo Lasso is Moreno’s main competitor with only 7 points behind. Among other things, Lasso is in opposition to the current government’s policy of aiding the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, citing cost as the main reason for his discontent.
“The Ecuadorian people have been paying a cost that we should not have to bear. We will cordially ask Mr. Assange to leave within 30 days of assuming a mandate,” Lasso said in an interview with the Guardian newspaper.
Sputnik is reporting the following details:
Assange has been residing at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012 for fear of being extradited to Sweden on rape allegations. The WikiLeaks founder denied the accusations. On December 4, 2015, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention’s (WGAD) ruled that Assange’s detention was arbitrary. The United Kingdom and Sweden have been refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the decision and to end Assange’s prosecution.
On Monday, Assange called on Sweden and Britain to free him in accordance with WGAD ruling, while the Swedish Prosecution Authority said it had not received any official requests from the WikiLeaks founder to end proceedings against him.