QUITO, Ecuador – The hand-picked candidate of socialist President Rafael Correa held an easy lead Monday in Ecuador’s presidential election, though authorities said it might be a few more days before they determine if he won enough votes to avoid a runoff against his nearest rival.

With about 89 percent of polling stations reporting late in the day, ruling party candidate Lenin Moreno had slightly over 39 percent of the votes cast Sunday, compared to 28 percent for former banker Guillermo Lasso, the closest contender among seven opposition candidates.

To avoid a runoff, and continue a decade-long streak of leftist rule in Ecuador at a time the rest of South America has tilted to the right, Moreno needed to win a majority of the total vote, or to have a 40 percent share while holding a 10-point lead over his nearest rival.

An overnight vigil by Lasso supporters outside the National Electoral Council stretched into Monday, and they said they would stay until every vote was counted and a runoff was confirmed. By afternoon, the crowd had grown to a few thousand who blocked traffic and shouted anti-Correa slogans as riot police watched.

“We’re going to stay here until the people’s will is respected,” said Andres Paez, Lasso’s running mate who joined in the protest.

“If the results are clean we’ll recognize them. But if they’re not we’ll declare ourselves in civil disobedience.”

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