The centrist Construye party announced on Saturday that Andrea Gonzalez, the running mate of the assassinated Fernando Villavicencio, will take his place in the presidential race.
Villavicencio, who was 59 years old, was killed by a gunman last week in Quito after a campaign rally.
Gonzalez, a 36-year-old environmental activist and a newcomer to politics, was chosen by Villavicencio to join him in the snap election triggered by President Guillermo Lasso’s resignation.
“The name of the vice presidential candidate will be announced in the next hours and will be chosen among the most trusted of those who have shared the struggles of comrade Fernando Villavicencio,” the party added.
Even though the ballots have already been printed, the law states that any votes for Villavicencio will go to the party candidate.
Police have arrested six Colombians with alleged ties to criminal groups and charged them with killing Villavicencio.
The suspects are in jail after a judge ruled on Thursday that they should stay there while the investigation goes on.
On Saturday, officials moved the boss of a strong gang who had threatened Villavicencio before his death to a high-security prison.
On August 9, 2023, Fernando Villavicencio, a former journalist and lawmaker who exposed corruption and crime in the government, was assassinated by Colombian hitmen after a campaign event in Quito.
His murder has caused anger and fear among the Ecuadorian people, who want justice and security in a country that has been plagued by violence and drug trafficking in recent years.
After this tragedy, Andrea Gonzalez, Villavicencio’s running mate and the presidential candidate for the centrist Construye party, has pledged to carry on his work and fight for democracy, transparency, and human rights in Ecuador.
Gonzalez has a difficult task ahead of her in the August 20 election, as she faces seven other candidates from different political parties and ideologies.
She also has to cope with the sorrow and resentment of Villavicencio’s family and supporters, who have questioned her nomination as unfair and disrespectful.
Furthermore, she has to deal with the dangers and pressure from the criminal groups that are responsible for Villavicencio’s killing, as well as the potential complicity of some state actors.
Gonzalez’s candidacy is a sign of hope and justice for Ecuador, but also a threat to her own life and the nation’s stability.
She has demonstrated bravery and resolve in taking on this challenge, but she will require the backing and protection of the Ecuadorian people and the international community to prevail.
Her appearance in the presidential debate on August 13 will be a key chance to showcase her plans and vision for Ecuador’s future.