By a single vote, National Assembly President Guadalupe Llori survived an attempt by opposition Assembly members on Wednesday to investigate and remove her from leadership. Llori had earlier allowed the vote to proceed, saying she would not “stand in the way of the will of the Assembly.”
The vote to investigate Llori, as well as the Legislative Administration Council (CAL) that she heads, was demanded by Fausto Jarrín of the Union for Hope party, who claimed he represented a “new majority” in the Assembly. He did not, as it turned out, coming up with 69 of the 70 votes needed to begin an investigation.
According to Llori’s supporters, the vote temporarily ends an attempt by political forces aligned with former president Rafael Correa to gain control of the Assembly and other government functions. “Today was a victory for the democratic process and the rule of law,” said CAL President Fernando Villavicencio. “At least for today, this defeats the take-over attempt by Correa and his group of odd bedfellows. This is the same coalition that tried and failed to take control of the Assembly last year,” he said.
According to Villavicencio, had Wednesday’s effort succeeded, the Corresista coalition would have started a process to control the Assembly, replace the attorney general and the national judicial council.
Following his defeat, Jarrín said the question of Llori’s and CAL’s leadership will be brought up again, blaming the loss on the absence of two Assembly members. “We will continue to fight against the neoliberal policies of [President Guillermo] Lasso and his supporters in the Assembly,” he said.
Although she could have prevented the vote, Llori explained afterward that she does not intend to remain Assembly president “at all costs,” saying she resents the suggestion that she is doing Lasso’s bidding. “I allowed the vote out of respect for the institution and the process but I will continue to fight for the independent function of the National Assembly.”
She continued: “The Assembly has other important issues to consider and now is the time to move on.”
According to Villavicencio, it is unlikely Llori will allow another vote on the issue. “This was their chance and they failed,” he said. “If they want this reconsidered they will need 91 votes to override President Llori and they do not have those votes.”