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Politician killed in Ecuador, wins election a day later


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A candidate murdered on the eve of the election was the most voted for mayor of Puerto López, Ecuador. Omar Menéndez, shot dead on Saturday (4), aged 41, received 6,630 votes, equivalent to 46.2% of voters in the city, according to results released on Tuesday (7).

Menéndez was a candidate for the Citizen Revolution, a left-wing party created by former President Rafael Correa (2007-2017). Legend leaders announced that Verónica Lucas Marcillo was chosen to assume the Prefecture in her place.

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“This victory is in honor of our teammate Omar Menéndez. A huge hug to his family”, wrote Correa on social networks, also expressing solidarity with the relatives of a 16-year-old teenager who was also killed in the attack against the candidate.

According to the Ecuadorian press, Menéndez, owner of a company that provides internet service, was killed a few hours before the vote in a commercial area of ​​Puerto López, in the province of Manabí, in the southwest of the country. The circumstances and motivations of the crime have not yet been clarified.

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The case raised concerns about the safety of candidates and politicians in the country. Two weeks earlier, Julio César Farachi, who was running for Mayor in the city of Salinas, was also shot dead, in equally unclear circumstances.

Ecuadorians went to the polls on Sunday (5) to elect nearly 5,700 local authorities, including councillors, mayors and members of the Citizen Participation and Social Control Council, which appoints prosecutors. Voters also decided to reject, in a referendum, a proposal presented by the country’s president, Guillermo Lasso, which intended to approve the extradition of people involved in transnational organized crime.

Lasso, acknowledged defeat on Monday and called for a “wide and serious debate, without dogmas or ideologies, on how to face the threat that drug trafficking and its links with sectors of politics currently represent.”

The defeats suffered by Lasso gave strength to the opposition led by former president Rafael Correa. According to the National Electoral Council, as of Tuesday night, the Citizen Revolution had won seven of the country’s 23 city halls, including the three main ones: Pichincha, Guayas and Azuay.

“The elections in general terms show voters’ rejection of Lasso’s government, which has an 80% disapproval,” Sebastián Donoso, a political analyst at the University of the Americas (UDLA) told AFP news agency.

Correa maintains great influence despite living in Belgium for six years, where he received asylum, and having been sentenced in 2020 to eight years in prison, accused of receiving bribes to finance election campaigns between 2012 and 2016. He denies the accusations and accuses your chasing opponents.

Ecuador is facing an increase in crime and drug trafficking. Last year, the homicide rate in the country rose to 25 per 100,000 people. In 2021, the number was 14 for every 100 thousand.

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