The Construye party announced that the journalist Christian Zurita will be the replacement of the candidate murdered in Ecuador last week, Fernando Villavicencio, for the presidential elections next Sunday (20). He was one of the founders of the news portal Periodismo de Investigación, which describes him as “an enemy of tyrannies and a redeemed leftist”.
The first name considered for the vacancy opened with the murder was that of Villavicencio’s running mate, Andrea González Nader, an environmentalist, but her name was barred due to bureaucratic details. Once registered, a candidacy – such as vice-president, in this case – cannot migrate to the head of the plate.
Journalist friends, Villavicencio and Zurita published allegations of corruption against former president of Ecuador Rafael Correa that culminated, in 2020, in an eight-year prison sentence. The former Ecuadorian president currently lives outside the country and claims to be the victim of legal persecution. Correa claims to be the target of more than fifty lawsuits in a lawfare offensive, which configures the use of the judicial system against political enemies.
Villavicencio was killed with three shots last Thursday (10th) as he left a rally. Six Colombian suspects remain in custody while investigations unfold. There are suspicions of links with organized crime.
Violence has risen sharply in Ecuador in recent years, especially since liberal governments took over in 2017.
Understand: Murdered candidate and state of exception: what is happening in Ecuador?
Next Sunday’s elections will choose both the new president and the legislators of the National Assembly. Ecuador does not have reliable polls, but some analysts estimate that Villavicencio would not have been among the three favorite candidates before the assassination.
Luisa González, from the Citizen Revolution party, the same as Rafael Correa, is appointed as the favorite to win the presidential election.
Editing: Geisa Marques