In a unanimous decision on Wednesday, the Constitutional Court removed Quito Mayor Jorge Yunda from office. He will be replaced by Santiago Guarderas who was chosen in June by the Municipal Council to replace Yunda. The council voted to impeach Yunda based on charges of mismanagement and unauthorized expenditures, including the purchase of 100,000 Covid-19 PCR tests.
Yunda refused to leave office and won a ruling by the Pichincha Provincial Court that the council’s dismissal and a ruling by the national elections council violated due process and his guarantee to office by popular election. The high court said that ruling was “ill conceived and did not consider the charges brought by the council.”
The court called on the Attorney General’s office to investigate claims against Yunda to determine civil, criminal and administrative liability. The case alleging his illegal purchase of PCR tests is already underway.
The Constitutional Court ordered that Guarderas be installed in the mayor’s office immediately.
In a statement, Guarderas said he would assume his duties Thursday morning. “Together with a team of competent professionals, I will dedicate myself to returning the city to a path of honesty and transparency and work on behalf of the residents of Quito,” he said.