Ecuadoran presidential candidate, Fernando Villavicencio, was assassinated after a campaign rally in Quito on Wednesday evening.
Following the assassination, the Ecuadorian President, Guillermo Lasso, took to his X handle to express the horror and pointed accusing finger at “organized crime” for Villavicencio’s death.
He wrote, “Outraged and shocked by the assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio. For his memory and his fight, I assure you that this crime will not go unpunished.”
The 59-year-old centrist candidate, preparing for the first round of the presidential election on August 20, was fatally shot as he exited a stadium in northern Quito.
According to El Universo, the killing was executed “hitman-style with three shots to the head.”
Villavicencio had previously voiced concerns over threats to his safety and that of his team.
Responding to the crisis, President Lasso summoned senior security officials for a pressing discussion.
“Organized crime has gone too far, but the full weight of the law will be applied to them,” he emphasized.
Recent polls positioned Villavicencio, a past journalist and parliamentarian, in second place, trailing lawyer Luisa Gonzalez, an ally of former left-leaning president Rafael Correa.
Ecuador has recently grappled with rising violence attributed to drug trafficking. This surge in crime has already claimed the lives of a mayor and another parliamentary candidate amidst the ongoing electoral process.
Earlier in the day, the president of the National Electoral Council, Diana Atamaint, divulged that several council members had been threatened.
Atamaint was among those called for the emergency security meeting alongside other top officials.
Lasso also expressed his condolences to the bereaved family, writing “My solidarity and my condolences with his wife and his daughters.”