After the assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio in Ecuador, his vice-candidate Andrea González Náder is now scheduled to run in next weekend’s election.

Since Villavencio and the party had chosen her to replace him as president in his absence, the party leadership decided to register her as the new presidential candidate, the Construye (Baue) party said on Saturday. A new vice presidential candidate will be announced shortly.

Six suspects in custody

Villavicencio was shot dead on Wednesday after a campaign rally in the capital, Quito. At least nine people were injured in the incident, and one suspect died after an exchange of gunfire with security forces.

Six suspects, all men from neighboring Colombia, were taken into custody. President Guillermo Lasso declared a state of emergency for 60 days and mobilized the armed forces.

Early presidential and parliamentary elections will be held in Ecuador on August 20th. These became necessary because Lasso had dissolved the National Assembly in the middle of impeachment proceedings for alleged embezzlement.

Ecuador suffers from wave of violence

According to media reports, González Náder comes from the port city of Guayaquil, was born in 1987 and studied engineering. So far she has worked as an environmental activist and university lecturer. Before she became Villavicencio’s campaign partner for the pro-centre Construye party, she had campaigned unsuccessfully for socialist parties in elections for parliament and the office of vice-prefect in the province of Guayas, according to the “Primicias” portal.

Once peaceful Ecuador is currently suffering from a wave of violence. The murder rate of 25 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants last year was the highest in the history of the South American country. The government blames drug dealers in particular.