Ecuador: Fernando Villavicencio, presidential candidate, shot dead during a rally

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ASSASSINATION According to the latest polls, the centrist Fernando Villavicencio ranked second in voting intentions

Ecuador: Fernando Villavicencio, presidential candidate , shot dead during a meeting

People try to protect themselves from gunfire during a meeting of Fernando Villavicencio, Ecuador's presidential candidate, in Quito on August 9, 2023. — STRINGER

The presidential campaign in Ecuador is hit by violence. The candidate Fernando Villavicencio was murdered by bullets the end of an electoral rally on Wednesday evening in Quito, announced Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso.

Fernando Villavicencio, a 59-year-old centrist, was one of eight candidates in the first round of the presidential election scheduled for August 20. According to the latest polls, he ranked second in voting intentions with around 13%, behind lawyer Luisa Gonzalez, close to former left-wing president Rafael Correa.

“Organized Crime went very far”

“I am outraged. and shocked by the assassination of the candidate for Presidency Fernando Villavicencio”, President Lasso wrote on social network X. “I assure you that this crime will not go unpunished,” promised. “Organized Crime went very far, but the full weight of the law will fall on him,” he added. Guillermo Lasso also summoned emergency in the evening a meeting of senior security officials.

In recent years, Ecuador has been confronted with to a wave of violence linked to drug trafficking which, in the midst of the electoral process, has already driven the death of a mayor and a candidate for Parliament. The president of the National Electoral Council (CNE), Diana Atamaint had also indicated Wednesday that several members of this authority responsible for supervising the poll had received death threats.