Ecuador prosecutors search polling firm following election
QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — Ecuadorean prosecutors and police on Friday searched the office of a Gallup polling affiliate whose presidential election exit poll fueled protests by projecting a six-point win for the losing opposition candidate.
An exit poll by Cedatos and two other firms showed conservative banker Guillermo Lasso winning Sunday’s race. Official results wound up showing him losing by two points to ruling-party candidate Lenin Moreno.
Outgoing President Rafael Correa accused people close to Lasso’s campaign of hiring Cedatos to intentionally spread false results and sow confusion.
Cedatos executive president Polibio Cordoba said in an interview with Notimundo radio that the firm has nothing to hide.
“If honesty brings us to this point, then this is the price of honesty,” he said.
Officials are barred by law from describing ongoing investigations, but the raid appeared to be linked to a formal complaint by a governing party lawmaker, congressional Vice President Rosana Alvarado, which echoed the president’s allegation.
Her complaint lists crimes of illegal association and alteration of documents, the most severe of which could lead to seven years in prison.
Cedatos accurately predicted the results of the eight-way first round and said it has nothing to hide.
Lasso has cited Cedatos’ exit poll in his allegations that the race was stolen.