The President of Ecuador, the conservativeGuillermo Lasso this Thursday declared a 60-day state of emergency across the country after the assassination on Wednesday of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio, who was shot dead by suspected assassins Leaving an election rally in Quito.
In a message to the nation after a lengthy State Security Committee meeting: Lasso confirmed that the extraordinary parliamentary elections will be held on August 20thas expected but with one Deployment of soldiers throughout the country under the state of emergency.
“Given the loss of one democrat and fighter, the elections are not suspended. This must be done and democracy must be strengthened. “This is the best reason to vote and to defend democracy, the life and integrity of the Ecuadorian family and the future of the country,” said the President.
A state of emergency has already been declared as a result of the security crisis that Ecuador is going through due to increasing crime and violence from organized crime Exception from the end of July, also for 60 daysin the provinces of Manabí and Los Ríos, as well as in the municipality of Durán, in Greater Guayaquil.
The declarations of states of emergency, which, in addition to the deployment of soldiers on the streets to support the work of the police, also mean that Abolition of some fundamental rights such as freedom of assembly and the inviolability of the homewere a recurring measure by Lasso to curb a rise in crime.
For more than two years, news of murders by hitmen or massacres by criminal gangs has become a regular trend in Ecuador, a situation that the government mainly attributes to organized crime and drug trafficking, which are rampant in Ecuador’s coastal zone country.
The president, who also ordered three days of national mourning for the loss of Villavicencio, reiterated that the attack “is a political crime that assumes a terrorist character.”
“We have no doubt that it is an attempt to sabotage the electoral process. It’s no coincidence that it happens a few days before the first round of the presidency,” Lasso said.
“We will not give in to those who want to intimidate the state, the state stands firm and democracy does not give up in the face of the brutality of this murder. We will not hand over power and democratic institutions to organized crime, even if disguised as a political organization,” he added.
Lasso explained that the attack took place around 18:15 local time (23:15 GMT) and “resulted in a confrontation between the police officers protecting Fernando Villavicencio and the assassins”, one of whom succumbed to his injuries after being captured.
“To cover their escape, the assassins threw a grenade on the street, which did not explode and was later destroyed by a controlled detonation,” said the head of state.
“The investigation is ongoing and we will apply the full rigor of the law so that those responsible for the materials and the intellectuals pay the maximum penalty,” he added.
The President thanked for the expressions of solidarity and international support and recognized the presence of observation missions from organizations such as the European Union (EU) and the Organization of American States (OAS) at the elections.
For her part, the President of the National Electoral Council (CNE), Diana Atamaintreiterated that “the dates of the elections scheduled for August 20 remain unchanged, in accordance with the constitutional and legal mandate and all activities of the election plan.”
For this, “the armed forces and the national police will double security in all constituencies so that all elections are carried out with guarantees.”