The National Assembly voted Saturday to appoint María Alejandra Vicuña vice president, replacing Jorge Glas who is serving a six-year prison term for corruption. Vicuña is currently interim vice president and was President Lenin Moreno’s top choice for the permanent position.
Vicuña received 70 votes, two more than necessary for the appointment. The vote was boycotted by several members of the Alianza Pais party who are loyal to former president Rafael Correa and who claim that the Assembly’s action is unconstitutional.
Among those voting against Vicuña, or abstaining, were members of the largest opposition party, CREO. On Friday, former CREO presidential candidate, Guillermo Lasso, criticized Vicuña and Moreno’s other two vice presidential candidates, María Fernanda Espinosa and Rosana Alvarado, calling them “rancid reminders of Correismo.”
Before the vote, Assembly president José Serrano read a statement by Moreno noting that Glas had abandoned his duties of vice president by being absent for 90 days.
Assemblyman César Litardo put Vicuña’s name into consideration, asking for an immediate vote. “We have the constitutional right to have a vice president to carry out her duties and be accountable to the people,” he said. “By electing Sra. Vicuña vice president, we are defending the democracy and institutionality of Ecuador.”
The final vote was 70 affirmative, 17 negative, with 19 abstentions.
Vicuña is a 40-year-old clinical psychologist from Guayaquil who served two terms in the National Assembly before being appointed minister of urban development and housing in the Moreno government.