Elections Council qualifies Zurita as Villavicencio’s replacement; Zurita takes aim at Jan Topic

Aug 17, 2023 | 0 comments

The National Electoral Council (CNE) approved the presidential candidacy of journalist Christian Zurita Wednesday night. His application to replace the murdered Fernando Villavicencio was approved unanimously after an objection by the Citizen Revolution party was thrown out.

Christian Zurita and his Construye running mate Andrea Gonzalez.

Zurita was a close friend and colleague of Villavicencio, collaborating with Villavicencio on more than a dozen investigative articles revealing corruption in three Ecuadorian governments. The two co-authored a book “Green Rice: The Bribery Industry”, in 2019, claiming that officials in the government of former president Rafael Correa received millions of dollars in bribes from state contractors.

Both Zurita and Villavicencio were sued by Correa during his term in office.

Earlier on Wednesday, Zurita charged that a company owned by the family of presidential candidate Jan Topic was defrauding the citizens of Guayaquil. Zurita claimed that most of the security cameras installed in a $30 million contract by Telconet, a communication company owned by the Topics, were not functional.

“This was a point that Fernando [Villavicencio] planned to raise during Sunday’s debate but he did not have the chance,” Zurita said. “It is now my duty to bring the situation to the public’s attention.”

According to Zurita, local officials have discovered that the security cameras are “almost useless,” since most of them don’t work and those that do show incorrect times and dates. “One of their functions was to provide evidence in traffic accidents and this is not possible due to lack of functionality.”

Topic responded, saying he is no longer associated with Telconet.

Also on Wednesday, five former National Assembly members Zurita accused of making threats to Villavicencio, said they are considering suing Zurita for defamation.

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