The Americas

Ecuador electoral body formally orders presidential runoff

Lenin Moreno, presidential candidate for the ruling party Alliance PAIS, celebrates the closing of the polls for the general election, in Quito, Ecuador, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. Ecuadoreans voted for a new leader Sunday, and exit polls indicated, Moreno, Correa's hand-picked successor was close to the threshold needed to win outright and avoid a runoff against his nearest rival. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

Lenin Moreno, presidential candidate for the ruling party Alliance PAIS, celebrates the closing of the polls for the general election, in Quito, Ecuador, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. Ecuadoreans voted for a new leader Sunday, and exit polls indicated, Moreno, Correa's hand-picked successor was close to the threshold needed to win outright and avoid a runoff against his nearest rival. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)  (The Associated Press)

Ecuador's electoral commission has formally ruled that a runoff election will be needed to choose a successor for socialist President Rafael Correa.

The body's announcement Wednesday confirms its earlier indication that ruling party candidate Lenin Moreno and conservative former banker Guillermo Lasso will face off in an April 2 vote.

Moreno led the nine-candidate field in Sunday's election with 39.4 percent of the votes, while Lasso finished second at 28.1 percent. Moreno fell just short of the 40 percent threshold needed for an outright victory.

Correa was first elected president in 2007 and won praise for ushering in stability for Ecuador after a severe economic crisis that saw three presidents driven from office. But he also drew criticism for an authoritarian approach against much of the press, opposition and judiciary.