QUITO, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- The presidential candidate of the ruling PAIS Alliance Lenin Moreno called Tuesday for Ecuador to remain calm as votes are being counted since Sunday's first-round election.
"I make a direct call for peace and for the popular will to be respected, whoever it favors. Violence cannot decide the result," Moreno wrote on his Twitter account.
"We are calm and thank everyone. Yesterday, we begun our work beyond what is decided by the CNE (National Electoral Council). There is so much to do," added Moreno, who was vice president from 2007 to 2013.
He issued this call in a context of political protests and uncertainty in the country. While the preliminary results give Moreno a clear lead, it is not clear whether he will avoid a run-off second round.
On Tuesday, with 93.6 percent of the votes counted by the CNE, Moreno led on 39.1 percent, with the opposition right-wing candidate, Guillermo Lasso, on 28.38 percent.
To avoid a second round, Moreno would need at least 40 percent of the vote and a 10-point lead on his rival. If not, the two men will face off in a second round on Apr. 2.
The CNE has stated the full results may not be known until Thursday.
However, Moreno has seemed to accept the possibility, posting on Monday that if he did not win outright, "We will go to a second round and the Ecuadorian people will take the final decision."