After holding a rally in Quito, Fernando Villavicencio, a well-liked contender in the Ecuadorian presidential election, was fatally shot.
Villavicencio’s unfortunate death on Wednesday night was attributed to organized crime, according to a tweet from President Guillermo Lasso known as X. He expressed his shock and promised to see that those guilty were held accountable.
He described himself as “outraged and shocked” by Fernando Villavicencio’s murder. “I assure you that this crime will not go unpunished in honor of his memory and his struggle.”
The nation’s presidential election, which was set for August 20, had eight contenders in the first round, including the 59-year-old moderate.
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After hosting a campaign rally, Villavicencio was leaving a stadium in northern Quito when he was killed, according to officials.
According to El Universo, the country’s main newspaper, he was assassinated in a “hitman-style” attack, receiving three shots to the head.
Earlier this month, Villavicencio had complained that he and his team were receiving threats.
Lasso summoned top security officials for an urgent meeting on “this event that has shocked the country.”
“Organized crime has gone too far, but the full weight of the law will be applied to them,” Lasso said in his post.
Based on the latest polls, Villavicencio, a former journalist and parliament member, secured second place in voter support at around 13 per cent. He trailed behind lawyer Luisa Gonzalez, who has close ties to former left-wing president Rafael Correa.
In recent years, drug trafficking has caused a surge in violence in Ecuador. This has resulted in the deaths of a mayor and a parliamentary candidate during the ongoing electoral process.
Diana Atamaint, the President of the National Electoral Council (CNE), announced earlier on Wednesday that several members of her organization, responsible for overseeing the election, had received death threats.
Lasso organized a security meeting and invited Atamaint, as well as the Attorney General, the President of the National Court of Justice, and other officials
The President also expressed his condolences to Villavicencio’s family, stating, “My solidarity and my condolences with his wife and his daughters.”
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