Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa described the attack as “a plan of the right wing to generate chaos and not accept their blunt defeat,” on Twitter.
Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa on Thursday accused U.S.-based hackers of attacking the National Electoral Council, CNE, website in an attempt to undermine the country’s recent second-round presidential election.
The CNE’s website, which provided real-time information on last Sunday’s presidential vote, was temporarily shut down at 6:45 p.m. local time, just as exit polls came to a close. Websites belonging to Correa’s Alianza Pais party and Ecuador’s national emergency service were also shut down.
Correa said it was “suspicious” that prior to the shutdown, exit polls favored right-wing banker candidate Guillermo Lasso, and that once the CNE site was restored after 18 minutes, official results showed President-elect Lenin Moreno as the clear winner.
On Twitter, he described the attack as “a plan of the right-wing to generate chaos and not accept their blunt defeat.” Correa, however, also made clear that the attack on the CNE’s website in no way affected the results of the election and does not invalidate Moreno’s victory.
The Ecuadorean government is expected to continue investigating the suspected hack in the coming days.
“We will ask for a complete audit of the fall of the system at 6:45 p.m. on April 2,” Correa posted on Twitter.
“It will be shown that there was no fall and that it was an attack.”
On Wednesday, Alianza Pais announced plans to support a vote recount to prove Sunday’s second-round presidential election was legal and transparent.
For days, Lasso and his CREO-SUMA coalition have claimed the elections were “fraudulent” and “rigged” in favor of Moreno, despite the fact that Organization of American States election observers found “no discrepancies between the observed records and the official data” from the CNE.
Since the election Argentina, Paraguay, Panama, Mexico, Bolivia, Peru, Chile, El Salvador, Colombia and Venezuela have all congratulated Moreno on his election win. But Lasso has refused to relent, even inciting violent protests in several cities across Ecuador, demanding a vote recount the rest of the region doesn’t believe is necessary.
“We request that this review be carried out immediately — in a public place, with all the national and international media, with delegates of the two movements — to demonstrate that they lied to our country, defrauded the public faith, generated violence and tried to sow chaos in our beloved Ecuador,” Alianza Pais said in a statement.
“May this exercise reinforce Ecuadorean democracy and forever isolate the immoral (ones) and liars.”