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Violence marks sectorial elections in Ecuador (+Photo)

Quito, Feb 5 (Prensa Latina) Political violence marks the process of sectional elections and referendum taking place today in Ecuador, where last night a candidate of the Citizen Revolution movement (RC) was murdered.

Voters in Quito told Prensa Latina that this type of events causes fear among citizens at the time of going to vote, although so far the affluence of people remains regular in voting centers.

At least five candidates, or people linked to them, were murdered and another ten were victims of attacks in the period prior to the elections, even in campaign rallies.

The most recent case was that of Omar Menendez, candidate of the RC for mayor of Puerto Lopez, in the province of Manabi, who was murdered the day before with more than 10 shots.

Regarding the event, the prefect of Pichincha and candidate for reelection on behalf of the CR, Paola Pabón, expressed her shock and deep sorrow and recalled that never before the country had experienced a similar situation of political violence in the context of elections.

In the face of the serious and grave problems the country is going through, these elections are a moment of proposals and hope, Pabón told the press as she went to vote in a school in the south of Quito.

The homes of two other RC candidates were also shot at, last night.

Such attacks are part of the escalation of violence and insecurity in the country, analysts and citizens warn.

Bryan Ayala, a young election observer, commented to Prensa Latina that Ecuador has become a difficult place to live and considered extremely regrettable these violent events that should have been left in the past.

It is outrageous as a society to see candidates assassinated regardless of their tendency, and populism is not going to solve the problem, said Ayala in reference to the referendum submitted to vote this Sunday.

With this consultative procedure, President Guillermo Lasso seeks, among other issues, to authorize the extradition of Ecuadorians, which in the young man’s opinion will not solve insecurity or organized crime, but rather comprehensive public policies.

Millions of Ecuadorians were called to the polls this Sunday to elect provincial and municipal authorities, the Council of Citizen Participation and Social Control (Cpccs) and to answer the eight questions of the constitutional referendum.

Polling stations opened at 07:00 (local time) to receive voters and according to the most recent report of the National Electoral Council, 10 percent of the electoral roll has already voted.

jrr/jha/avr.

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