National Assembly President Guadalupe Llori says members of her own Pachakutik party are plotting with the Correistas and conservative Social Christians to remove her from office and dissolve the Assembly Administrative Council (CAL). “What I see looks very much like a potential coup,” she said in her Twitter account.
“I am saddened to see my fellow Pachakutikas working to destabilize the government and plotting with the political extremes of this body for a change of leadership,” she said.
To remove Llori and restaff the CAL would require 70 of the 137 member votes in the Assembly. The Correista Union for Hope (UNES), the largest legislative bloc has 48 members while the Christian Democrats, the party founded by former Guayaquil Mayor Jaime Nebot, has 17. Pachakutik has 26 members, of which as many as 14 support UNES positions.
The parties that support Llori and CAL are President Guillermo Lasso’s CREO Movement with 12 members and the Democratic Left with 18. In addition, there is support from eight independent Assembly members as well as Pachakutik members not aligned with UNES.
CAL President Fernando Villavicencio says the take-over attempt is being orchestrated by former president Rafael Correa. “This is same coalition of odd befellows who tried and failed to take control of the Assembly last year,” he said. “They are back for another try, led by Correa on the left and Nebot on the right. It appears they have the support of several members of Pachakutik, a stab in the back to Guadalupe.”
Villavicencio, a political independent, added: “Make no mistake, this is an attempt to install the Correista agenda which also involves the impeachment and dismissal of the president. What they were not able to accomplish in the election, they will try to accomplish by overthrowing the National Assembly leadership.”
Assemblyman Mario Ruiz, a Pachakutik member aligned with UNE and PSC, says Llori’s reaction is “irrational” and that the intent of the coalition is to open the Assembly to debate on issues being “held hostage” by the CAL. Among the matters Ruiz wants addressed are the impeachment of members of the Council for Citizen Participation (Cpccs), repeal of the Economic Development Law and possible replacement of the national elections committee and the attorney general.
“It appears that Llori and the CAL are following a neoliberal script by impeding debate on critical issues and we intend to put an end to this,” Ruiz says.
Last week, UNES and PSC, with the support of several Pachakutik members, had enough votes to remove four members of the Cpccs and install a new president. The matter now faces court challenges that could take months to resolve.
Creo member and Llori supporter Ana Belén Cordero, says a Correista take-over is far from assured. “This coalition failed miserably in its attempt to impeach the president last year and there are members of PSC and even UNES who may not support removal of Guadalupe,” she said. “A so-called coup is far from a done deal.”
Ruiz also says he is not sure of the support for a “full rearrangement” of the Assembly. “People here do not vote in lock-step so there is no clear view of the outcome of this controversy. We will see what happens.”