An Ecuador mayor said he was the victim of an attempted assassination as political violence continued ahead of Sunday’s vote.
(Bloomberg) — An Ecuador mayor said he was the victim of an attempted assassination as political violence continued ahead of Sunday’s vote.
Francisco Tamariz, mayor of the coastal city of La Libertad, said gunmen — some dressed as policemen — fired 30 shots at his vehicle on Friday evening. Tamariz, his wife and two other people with them escaped unharmed as the vehicle was armored, he said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“It was not a coincidence, the shots were directed at where I was,” Tamariz said, adding that they aimed at his head. “I publicly summon President Guillermo Lasso, the Ministry of the Interior, I hold them directly responsible for my life.”
The police weren’t immediately able to comment on Tamariz’s claims.
On Saturday, presidential candidate Otto Sonnenholzner said on X that there had been another shooting in front of a restaurant in Guayaquil where he was with his family. They were not harmed, Sonnenholzner said. An investigation is being conducted, his campaign spokesman told Bloomberg News.
Ecuador will hold presidential elections Sunday, triggered by Lasso’s decision to dissolve the congress and avoid impeachment. A second-round will be held in October if no candidate gets an absolute majority Sunday — or at least 40% of valid votes with a 10 percentage point lead over the runner-up.
Read more: Bond Traders Bet Next Ecuador President Can Stave Off Default
The campaign has been marred by violence, including the killing of Fernando Villavicencio, an anti-graft crusader who had been seen as one of the candidates with the best odds of advancing in the presidential race. Villavicencio was gunned down as he left a political rally.
His murder marked a defining moment in Ecuador’s rapidly deteriorating security situation. Last year, the country’s murder rate topped both Mexico and Colombia as cocaine cartels fought for control of shipping routes. The winner of the election faces an imposing challenge in restoring order in Ecuador.
Read more: Vote for a Dead Man, Slain Candidate’s Best Friend Urges Ecuador
–With assistance from Stephan Kueffner.
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