Ecuadorian journalist nominated to replace slain Villavicencio on ticket

The political movement that championed the slain presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio nominated an Ecuador journalist to fill Villavicencio’s spot on the ticket in the country’s presidential election. 

Leaders of the political movement Construye Movement confirmed Sunday journalist Christian Zurita will run as their candidate. 

The National Electoral Council initially decided that Villavicencio’s partner, Andrea González, would replace the slain candidate, prompting controversy, according to the Associated Press (AP). González will continue to run for the vice presidency position. 

“Faced with the lack of clear answers from the CNE and the furious reaction of some political sectors, we will not run any risk. Christian Zurita @christianzr will be registered as our presidential candidate,” the Contruye Movement wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Villavicencio, 59, was shot and killed last week in broad daylight in the country’s capital of Quito. Villavicencio was one of eight registered candidates for the presidential election. While he was not the front-runner of the race, he was known for his fight against crime and corruption. 

Ecuador announced later last week that six Colombian men were arrested in connection with the slaying of the presidential candidate. The men will be held for at least 30 days in the investigation. If convicted, they face around 26 years in prison each. 

Zurita, 53, appeared for a press conference Sunday wearing police bulletproof vests with running mate González, AP reported.  

Zurita said they are waiting for a pronouncement from the National Electoral Council regarding his candidacy, AP reported. The electoral body said the registration of both Zurita and González had not yet been sent to the institution. 

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso dismissed the National Assembly of Ecuador in May using a 2008 constitutional provision that allowed the president to dissolve the legislature during times of political crisis under the condition new elections are held for both lawmakers and the president. 

Lawmakers challenged Lasso’s decision claiming he dissolved the legislature to avoid his impeachment over alleged crimes against state security and corruption. Ecuador’s Constitutional Court rejected these challenges, allowing the elections to move forward. 

Elections for the new presidential and legislative body are still slated for Aug. 20.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Tags Ecuador Quito