Ecuador’s Election Marred by Violence and Assassinations of Candidates

A mayoral candidate was shot dead just hours before polls opened on Sunday, becoming the second candidate assassinated in an election marred by more than a dozen attacks and threats against political candidates and their associates.

Ecuador Police RiotsNational Police of Ecuador troops. (Photo: Rupert Taylor-Price, Flickr, License)Three other people were injured in the assassination of Omar Menéndez, including a 16-year-old boy who died after being admitted to a local hospital. Menéndez still obtained the largest number of votes in his city.

His party, Citizen Revolution, condemned the murder and requested that Ecuadorian authorities investigate and punish the perpetrators. “It’s unacceptable for the country to continue to bleed,” the party tweeted. “Enough is enough!”

The Electoral Mission of the Organization of American States in Ecuador condemned the murder and also requested a prompt investigation. “Violence has no place in democracy,” the organization said.

The Country’s National Electoral Council, beyond condemning the assassination, said that acts like this threaten Ecuadorian democracy.

The frequent attacks against political candidates and their associates in the run-up for Sunday’s election often included attacks with firearms and bombs.

For journalist Gerardo Delgado and another mayoral candidate, Julio César Farachio, the attacks were fatal. Farachio died in a violent attack about two weeks ago.

The Government claims to have evidence of links between some candidates and drug trafficking, leading to the growing idea of “narcopolitics” in the country.

“Narcopolitics” is an increasingly widespread idea which claims that drug trafficking and criminal groups have infiltrated politics and are financing political campaigns.