QUITO, March 9 (Xinhua) -- The presidential candidate of Ecuador's ruling party Lenin Moreno is leading the polls before a runoff vote on April 2, showed survey results released on Thursday.
In the first round, Moreno of the progressive PAIS Alliance garnered 39.36 percent of the votes, falling just shy of the 40 percent with a 10 percentage point difference needed to secure an outright win.
Guillermo Lasso, the candidate of the conservative coalition CREO-SUMA alliance got 28.09 percent of the votes, with the remainder shared by six other candidates.
More than 12.8 million Ecuadorians are eligible to vote in the race to elect a successor of President Rafael Correa, who has been in power since 2007.
The presidential runoff campaign season will begin on Friday. So far, Moreno, Correa's former vice president, has gotten the backing of Ivan Espinel, the candidate of the Social Commitment Movement, who came in sixth place with 3.18 percent of the votes, as well as the support of the Democratic Center Movement and various social and indigenous groups.
Lasso, a former banker, received the endorsement of Paco Moncayo, a retired general who came in fourth place with 6.79 percent of the votes.
Though Moncayo is the candidate of a center-left coalition, he deeply opposes Correa.
"Lasso represents the neo-liberalism that has done so much damage, but today he is the lesser evil and he is needed to recover democracy. There is no other way to get away from Correa than by voting for Lasso," Moncayo told reporters.
Lasso also has the support of the right-wing Christian Social Party, whose candidate Cinthya Viteri came in third place with 16.32 percent of the votes in the first round.
The March 6-8 survey queried 3,226 registered voters in the coastal provinces of Guayas, Los Rios and Manabi, as well as in southern Azuay province, and the Andean provinces of Pichincha, Chimborazo and Tungurahua.
The poll has a 2.12 percent margin of error, and a 95-percent accuracy rate.