A group of Ecuadorian legislators filed a request for impeachment against President Guillermo Lasso on Thursday for an alleged case of corruption involving his brother-in-law and a former official of a public company.
The impeachment request is signed by 59 of the 137 assembly members, 43% of the chamber.
The initiative will first be analyzed by an administrative council of the legislature and then it will go to the Constitutional Court, which has the last word on whether or not to give the green light to the process.
The request for impeachment stems from a report by the La Posta portal that revealed in January an alleged corruption structure set up in public companies by Danilo Carrera, Lasso’s brother-in-law who has not held government posts.
“The president has adapted his conduct to protect the links of a criminal structure in public companies. The president always knew, he always had knowledge (…) and allowed fair (money) to be made from these companies,” he told the Assemblywoman Viviana Veloz, from the opposition Union for Hope (UNES) party, close to former President Rafael Correa (2007-2017), was in the press.
Veloz maintained that “the president has political responsibility for the crimes of extortion and embezzlement,” and that the trial “is a constitutional and democratic solution to this serious crisis” that the country is going through.
Also involved in the case are Hernán Luque, former delegate of the president on the board of the Public Company Coordinating Company (EMCO), and businessman Rubén Cherres, close to Carrera and who is being investigated by the prosecution for drug trafficking.
For its part, the Lasso government rejected the impeachment request on the grounds that it “totally lacks political and legal elements.”
“This political trial is not an act of control, but one more attempt to destabilize the National Assembly in less than two years of its mandate,” said the General Secretariat for Communication.
This is the second attempt by the legislature to remove Lasso. In June, in the midst of violent indigenous protests over the high cost of living, opposition assembly members presented a motion to dismiss the president due to serious social unrest, but did not gather the necessary votes.
If the request reaches the Constitutional Court, it has a period of six days to rule. In the event that the highest court issues an opinion against the trial, the process will be archived.
If the trial is given, the vote of two thirds of the deputies (92) is required to remove the president.