Running mate of slain Ecuadoran candidate to run for president

The running mate of slain Ecuadoran candidate Fernando Villavicencio will run for president in his place in August 20 elections, their party said Saturday.

"The movement will replace the presidential ticket by putting Andrea Gonzalez as president," the centrist Construye party said in a statement.

Villavicencio, a 59-year-old journalist and prominent anti-corruption crusader, was gunned down as he left a campaign rally in the capital Quito on Wednesday night.

President Guillermo Lasso has blamed the murder on organized crime.

Gonzalez, 36, is due to participate in Sunday's presidential debate in Quito.

Her work has been focused on environmental advocacy, particularly concerning oceans and mangroves, as well as combatting wildlife trafficking and deforestation.

"The name of the vice presidential candidate will be announced in the next hours and will be chosen among the most trusted of those who have shared the struggles of comrade Fernando Villavicencio," the party said.

Six Colombians have so far been arrested and another killed over the assassination.

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