National assemblywoman Silvia Salgado made it official Friday that there are opposing factions among members of the Alianza Pais (AP) National Assembly delegation. “We cannot deny the fact that there are different schools of thought within AP on serious issues,” she said following a meeting of AP leadership in Quito with President Lenin Moreno.
“I say that there are ‘sub-blocs’ since all members of AP, including those in the Assembly, are united on most issues. On the other hand, we cannot be blind to the issues that divide us,” said Salgado, who supports Moreno and all seven questions on his referendum that will go to voters in January or February.
There is even a name for the AP faction aligned with Moreno, Salgado said. “We are the Assemblistas Monticristi (AM) because we firmly believe in the original intent and purpose of the 2008 constitution that was drafted in Monticristi,” she said. “We believe in a democracy that turns to the people on important questions of governance. We do not believe in a government that usurps power from the people simply for the purpose of building a more powerful government.”
Following the adoption of the Monticristi constitution, Correa orchestrated the adoption of several amendments that opponents say led to greater authority of the central government.
According to political observers, the current flashpoints between AM and the group of AP assembly members who back Correa are the referendum question that would deny Correa the chance to return to the presidency and the status of Vice President Jorge Glas. “There are broad issues about the size and role of government, but today the fighting points are the referendum question that will keep Correa from returning to leadership and Glas, of course,” says former assemblyman Juan Carlos Estrada.
“All the momentum is with Moreno,” says Estrada. “A month ago, I would have said that two-thirds of the AP delegation were nominally Corriestas. Today, they are less than half and losing ground rapidly.” Of the 72-member AP delegation in the assembly, Estrada says that 35 back Moreno while 27 are in the Correa camp. He believes most of the uncommitted will soon ally themselves with AM.
Before Salgado made her announcement about the new AM bloc, Moreno told AP officers that the party should remain focused on helping the poor people of Ecuador. “This was the principle on which the party was founded and we cannot lose sight of it,” he said. “We have made exceptional progress in the last 10 years but we cannot let internal differences distract from the important work ahead.”