The Build Ecuador Movement will now field journalist Christian Zurita in next Sunday’s presidential elections, it announced at a news conference Sunday in Quito. Initially, the party had said on Saturday that Villavicencio’s running mate, Andrea González Náder, would run for president in his place following the candidate’s assassination.
However, it was initially unclear whether the country’s electoral authority CNA would approve it since the environmental activist was already registered as a candidate for vice president. She is now expected to continue her campaign for the same post.
Journalist replaces murdered Ecuador’s presidential candidate.
“In the absence of clear answers from the CNE, and given the angry reaction from some political circles, we will not take any risks,” the party said.
Villavicencio was shot dead on Wednesday after an election rally in Quito. At least nine people were injured in the attack, and one suspect died of l injuries after exchanging gunfire with security forces. Six suspects, all men from neighbouring Colombia, were remanded in custody.
Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso imposed a state of emergency for 60 days. At Sunday’s news conference, Zurita and Gónzalez Náder wore bulletproof vests. Early presidential and parliamentary elections will be held in the South American country on Aug. 20.
These became necessary because Lasso dissolved parliament amid impeachment proceedings for alleged embezzlement. Zurita is an investigative journalist, as was the murdered Villavicencio.
According to media reports, they worked together reporting on corruption in the government of ex-president Rafael Correa (2007-17) and were close friends.