President Guillermo Lasso has “categorically rejected” the National Assembly plan to begin an impeachment trial against him. “This is nothing less than a plot to destabilize the country,” the president said in press statement Thursday night. “Its sole objective is to attack the institutionality of Ecuador and of democracy.”
Lasso’s reaction followed the announcement Thursday morning that 59 Assembly members had signed a petition to begin impeachment proceedings. Forty-six signatures are required.
At a press conference, impeachment supporter Assemblywoman Viviana Veloz proclaimed that “justice will be done to end government corruption.” The petition now goes to National Assembly President Virgilio Saquicela who will request a ruling by the Constitutional Court to proceed with the impeachment trial.
Assembly supporters of Lasso held their own news conference, calling the impeachment effort a “farce and a political show.” Assemblyman Juan Fernando Flores, of Lasso’s CREO party, claimed the charges against the president “have no evidence” and are doomed to fail. “The supporters of this effort were trying to get 92 signatures to show they have the votes for impeachment but they couldn’t do it,” he said.
On Wednesday, Saquicela, who supports impeachment, conceded that some of the charges against Lasso lacked “firm evidence” but said the president may be “guilty by omission” based on the criminal code. “Omission means failing to prevent events that lead to criminality, including corruption.”
“I think the country deserves to know the truth and an impeachment trial will assure that all the facts are presented,” he added.
Assembly members signing the impeachment petition were members of the Correista UNES party, the Social Christian party and the Democratic Left.