Following the assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio, Ecuadorian National Electoral Council head Diana Atamaint, says the presidential election date will not change.
A state of emergency has been announced by Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso, on Thursday, for 60 days after the assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio earlier on Wednesday.
Villavicencio was shot dead during a rally in Quito, Equador, according to Lasso, who declared the state of emergency and then added that “From now on, the armed forces are mobilized throughout the country to guarantee the security of citizens, the tranquility of the country and free and democratic elections.”
However, it was confirmed that the presidential election will remain set for August 20 and will not be changed following the assassination of Villavicencio, according to National Electoral Council head Diana Atamaint.
“The date of the election, scheduled for August 20, will remain unchanged,” Atamaint said.
Social media videos depict Villavicencio, a former journalist who was outspoken about the alleged connections between organized crime and politics, encircled by supporters and being accompanied by security guards to a waiting vehicle when gunshots ring out, and people begin to scream and take cover.
Lasso was “outraged and shocked by the assassination” and would convene a meeting of his security cabinet. “For his memory and his fight, I assure you that this crime will not remain unpunished,” he stressed.
The attorney general’s office later said that one of the murder suspects had passed away due to wounds sustained in the ensuing gunfight, and six people had been detained in connection with the incident.
Galo Valencia, Villavicencio’s uncle, spoke at the scene of the shooting and accused the government of failing to provide his nephew with adequate security. He also recalled how he initially mistook the bullets for fireworks fired by Villavicencio’s fans until “we saw that there were wounded falling, blood, and injured people.”
“What we witnessed was like a horror film. The death of my relative. I have no words for what’s happening in the country. They just killed democracy,” he said.
“What insecurity we live in … if a man who fought more than 20 years, the most likely to win the elections, is silenced. Is this the way to win elections?”