Ecuador is preparing for a presidential run-off election that will pit leftist frontrunner Luisa Gonzalez against the son of one of the country’s richest men. Daniel Noboa, 35, emerged from political obscurity with 24 percent of the vote despite not figuring as a favorite in opinion polls. Gonzalez, a protege of ex-president Rafael Correa, has positioned herself as a defender of the country’s social legacy. Her main competition initially appeared to be anti-corruption candidate and former journalist Fernando Villavicencio until he was murdered on the campaign trail just 11 days before polls opened, marring the vote and raising questions over national security. Once a peaceful haven, the small South American country has in recent years become a playground for foreign drug mafias seeking to export cocaine from its shores, stirring up a brutal war between local gangs. The October 15 run-off election will choose who completes the term of unpopular conservative leader Guillermo Lasso, who called snap polls to avoid a possible impeachment trial for embezzlement.