Elizabeth Cabezas was elected president of Ecuador’s National Assembly on Wednesday, replacing Jose Serrano who was fired on Friday. Assembly members voted to ignore a bomb threat that had been delivered moments before the assembly convened.
“Today, it is time to move forward, to recover the faith hope and optimism of the Ecuadorian people,” Cabezas said in her acceptance speech. “Our country faces difficult times of political uncertainty and social and economic concern. It is time we move away from the harmful, unproductive scenario of the recent past. It is time to put the country on the right path,” she said.
The election of Cabezas, a member of the Alianza Pais (AP), was an indication of things to come in an assembly that, for the first time in years, has no majority party. AP was split in two when legislators loyal to former president Rafael Correa formed the Revolucion Alfarista party in December. “It is a new reality for this body and demands that different groups and parties work to achieve results,” said assemblyman Carlos Bergmann, who chaired Wednesday’s session. “The election of Sr. Cabezas proves we can work for common goals despite political differences.”
In her election, Cabezas received 84 of the assembly’s 137 votes.
AP remains the largest party in the assembly, with 46 members. Revolucion Alfarista holds 29 seats.
In her acceptance remarks, Cabezas said revising the communications law would be one of her top priorities. The controversial law has been a bone of contention in Ecuadorian politics since it was passed during the Correa administration.
During Wednesday’s session, the assembly agreed to restructure key committees and reassign leadership following the split of AP.