An attempt by officers of Alianza País to align the political party with former president Rafael Correa has apparently backfired, solidifying President Lenin Moreno’s support both in and outside the party.
At a Wednesday morning rally in Quito, National Assembly President José Serrano called the Tuesday night vote by AP officers to strip Moreno of the party presidency, a “failed coup d’état” that further divides an already fractured party.
Serrano, who at one time identified himself as a “Correista,” pledged his support to Moreno and said it is time to move beyond the “vile politics of the past.”
The alleged coup came at a hastily convened meeting of AP officers in which 22 party members voted to replace Moreno as party president with former cabinet member and Correa loyalist Ricado Patiño. AP chairwoman and former National Assembly president Gabriela Rivadeneira led the effort, claiming that Moreno had abandoned the plans and principles established by Correa and no longer represented the interests of the party.
“I stand today with President Moreno to voice my absolute rejection of the decision by a small minority of AP party members,” Serrano said. “It was arbitrary, unconstitutional and illegal.”
In a Wednesday afternoon ruling, the Court of Criminal Guarantees agreed with Serrano and ordered the National Electoral Council (CNE) to ignore the election of Patiño. The ruling cited “a number of irregularities” in the Tuesday night meeting, including a lack of a quorum. By law, political parties are required to follow prescribed rules in conducting meetings and electing officers.
The court said it may impose legal sanctions on those leading the meeting.
In addition to Serrano, a dozen other government officials and National Assembly members lashed out at the Correista faction of AP on Wednesday. Interim Vice President María Alejandra Vicuña called the effort to oust Moreno “laughable and pathetic,” and said, “They are showing the world the real people that they are and it’s not a pretty sight.” She added: “They have lost complete contact with the people and are concerned only about holding on to power.”
Miguel Carvajal, National Secretary of Policy Management, called the AP party leadership “virulent with no interest in working for the interests of the people. They have become a small minority that just became much smaller.”
Correa Tweeted congratulations to Patiño on Wednesday, prior to the court ruling, and said he planned to visit Ecuador in the near future.