By Sylvan Hardy
An angry Rafael Correa denounced Pressident-elect Guillermo Lasso in two interviews on Monday, calling him a “traitor and a liar” for walking away from a political alliance with Correa’s Union for Hope (Unes) and the conservative Social Christian party.
“Guillermo Lasso has started his governance very badly,” Correa said. “He spoke of uniting Ecuador yet he ignored the country’s main political force in his abandonment of the project he had agreed to earlier.” Unes is largest bloc in the National Assembly with 49 members.
Correa described a series of conversations between former Guayaquil mayor Jaime Nebot, who heads the Social Christians, and Lasso to combine forces for control of the Assembly. According to both Correa and Nebot, Lasso rejected the deal at the last minute and formed a union with the indigenous Pachakutik movement and the Democratic Left. Social Christian Henry Kronfle, who appeared headed for the Assembly presidency lost by two votes when Lasso’s Creo Assembly bloc of 12 abstained. A day later, Pachakutik’s Guadalupe Llori was elected to the top post.
Among the agreements of the Unes – Social Christian alliance was the formation of “truth commission” to investigate legal actions against members of the Correista government during the Lenin Moreno administration. Two dozen members of Correa’s government have been convicted of various crimes and several others are living in exile. Correa himself is a fugitive, living in Belgium, following his conviction on a corruption charge involving a campaign fund.
Correa attacked Llori. calling her a “very violent women who will be unable to lead the Assembly.” Llori served a 10-month prison sentence in 2007 for leading an indigenous protest against the Correa government.
Llori has said she has no interest in forming a truth commission unless it also investigates abuses of power by Correa. In addition to her imprisonment, which she blames personally on Correa, Llori says she will not forget his insults. In 2008, Correa called her an “ugly woman” who should abandon politics and take make-up lessons from then assemblywoman and now Guayaquil Mayor Cynthia Viteri.
Nebot agreed with Correa’s assessment of the broken deal, calling Lasso “disrespectful” and a “man not good to his word.” Nebot’s situation with Lasso is personal since the families of the two men are inter-married.
Political science professor and election analyst César Ulloa says that Lasso found himself between a “rock and hard place” before walking away from the deal. “If he had supported it, he would have been a traitor to his long-standing opposition to Correismo as well as in violation of a pledge not to interfere with the judicial system. On the other, if he had gone with the alliance, he would have been in a better management situation in the Assembly, given the strict control Correa and Nebot have over their Unes and Social Christian delegations.”
Ulloa agrees with Correa that legislative management will be difficult under the Pachakutik-Democractic Left arrangement. “Both parties are loose coalitions of ideologies, ranging from centrist to far left. How Lasso reconciles that with his conservative, market-friendly philosophy is something I look forward to seeing.”