Following two embarrassing policy reversals by his agency, the director of Ecuador’s Institute of Social Security (IESS), Fernando Cordero, has resigned.
The former president of the National Assembly and former mayor of Cuenca, Cordero said that it was time for him to move aside although he said he remained committed to President Rafael Correa’s Citizen’s Revolution.
Last week, Cordero apologized for issuing an order that all business owners and self-employed professionals were required to join the national Social Security system and to contribute 20% of their salaries to the program. The order, it turned out, was illegal, the result of a misinformed assistant, Cordero said.
In late February, the agency rescinded its unrestricted “voluntary” membership offer to those who have not paid into the system through employment deduction. That change was prompted by concerns that too many sick and elderly volunteer members would put a financial strain on health care services offered by IESS.
Although he denies it, many political commentators say that Cordero was forced out of his job as president of the National Assembly 10 months ago because Correa wanted “new blood” in the position. His 29-year-old replacement, Gabriela Rivadeneira, has been been mentioned as the heir apparent to Correa.
Cordero’s resignation Tuesday, some say, is the result of Correa’s continuing “damage control” efforts following party losses in the Feb. 23 local elections.
Photo captions: Fernando Cordero resigns