Ecuadorian presidential candidate shot dead during campaign rally

Ecuadorian presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio was shot dead on Wednesday by an unidentified gunman while at a political rally in the country’s capital of Quito, President Guillermo Lasso said.

Videos on social media purportedly from the campaign event showed people taking cover and screaming as gunfire sounded.

“For his memory and his fight, I assure you that this crime will not remain unpunished,” Lasso said on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. “Organized crime have gone very far, but all the weight of the law will fall on them.”

Villavicencio, 59, was the candidate for the Build Ecuador Movement.

He was one of eight presidential candidates for the August 20 election.

Villavicencio was a member of Ecuador’s National Assembly before it was dissolved in May.

He is survived by his wife and five children.

He was one of the leading candidates in the first round of voting set to be conducted on August 20 to succeed Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso.

During the election campaign, the candidates focused on rising violence in Ecuador. Guillermo Lasso called the snap elections after dissolving the National Assembly and avoiding impeachment.

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