Ecuador polls: Murdered candidate elected as mayor


A candidate for mayor in Ecuador, who was murdered just hours before polls opened, has won the election in the city of Puerto López. Omar Menéndez, 41, was shot dead by gunmen who burst into the room where he was with campaign workers on Saturday. A teenager was also killed in the attack. Police are still investigating the possible motive behind it. A member of Mr Menéndez’s party is expected to replace the murdered politician as mayor. The municipal elections were held during an escalating crime wave linked to the growing influence of violent drug gangs in the Andean country.

Mr Menéndez was not the only politician to be killed in the run-up to the election. Two weeks earlier, the candidate for mayor of the coastal town of Salinas, Julio César Farachio, was also shot dead. Police have arrested a suspect in Farachio’s murder who had previously threatened the 45-year-old candidate. The suspect had recently been released from prison after serving a sentence for drug trafficking, local media reported. No arrests have been made so far in the fatal shooting of Omar Menéndez, whose assailants fled on a motorbike.(BBC)…[+]