Ecuador: presidential candidate Villavicencio killed in electoral campaign – Politics


A week and a half before snap presidential elections in Ecuador, candidate Fernando Villavicencio was shot dead after an election event in the capital Quito. Unknowns shot at the 59-year-old as he got into a car on Wednesday. An ambulance crew confirmed Villavicencio’s death. Six suspects have now been arrested. Another was killed in a shootout that followed the assassination.

At least nine people were injured in the incident, including a parliamentary election candidate and two police officers, the prosecutor said in a tweet. At the same time, the authority warned of false reports in relation to the crime.

Quito: Police officers stand in front of the hospital where Villavicencio was taken after the attack.

Police officers stand in front of the hospital where Villavicencio was taken after the attack.

(Photo: Galo Paguay/AFP)

“My sympathy and condolences go out to his wife and daughters. This crime will not go unpunished,” he added. President Guillermo Lasso wrote on Twitter. According to the head of state, drug trafficking gangs are behind the attack. “Organized crime has gone too far. It will be punished with the full force of the law,” Lasso continued.

The elections should take place as planned

Lasso declared a 60-day state of emergency and three days of national mourning in response to the attack. He also ordered the nationwide mobilization of the armed forces to protect citizens and the electoral process. Presidential elections on August 20 should go ahead as planned.

Villavicencio had run as a candidate of the Construye movement for the highest state office in the South American country, according to some polls he was in second place and had a good chance of reaching a possible runoff. As an investigative journalist and member of parliament, he had repeatedly criticized widespread corruption in Ecuador. He is said to have been threatened several times by drug cartels.

Snap presidential and parliamentary elections in Ecuador became necessary after President Lasso dissolved the National Assembly in the midst of impeachment proceedings against him for alleged embezzlement.

Ecuador is in a serious political crisis. The approval ratings for government and parliament are very low. The once peaceful country is currently experiencing a wave of violence. Last year’s homicide rate – 25 homicides per 100,000 people – was the highest in the country’s history, surpassing even Mexico and Brazil. The government blames drug dealers for the violence.

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