Ecuador’s National Electoral Council has received a formal request for a recall election of President Guillermo Lasso. Under recall rules, Lasso has until June 9 to respond to the 48-page document submitted last week to the CNE.
The recall is supported by Andrés Arauz, former Correista candidate for president, and former Correa administration officials Jorge Acosta, Pedro Granja and Alberto Acosta.
Under rules for recalling elected officials, the CNE has a month to consider the sponsors’ arguments and the president’s response before deciding to allow the effort to continue. If is given the go-ahead, sponsors have six months to collect about two million signatures, or those of 15 percent of Ecuadorian voters.
Granja claims that Lasso is inflicting “irreversible damage on the country by putting the interests of the mercantile class ahead of those of the citizens.” Specifically, he claims Lasso has allowed the public health and education systems to deteriorate and is pursuing a plan to privatize the Social Security system. “During the election, I warned that putting a banker in the presidential palace would lead to disaster for Ecuador’s public institutions and now it is clear I was right.”
Political insiders, including some Correa supporters, say the recall effort has little chance of success. They cite the fact that similar recall efforts against Correa and President Lenin Moreno failed. “It is tall order to collect two million signatures under any circumstances and it would be even more difficult given the confusion among recall supporters and the fact that local elections are only six months away,” says Martin Norero, University of Guayaquil economics professor and former deputy interior minister.
According to Nerero, the leadership of the recall effort is in disarry. “The problems start with Jorge Acosta, the former CNE president, who had his U.S. visa revoked, apparently on suspicion of money laundering. Then, there have been conflicting statements by Arauz, who has been estranged from the Correistas since the election. Although Correa himself says a recall in justified, his support has been lukewarm.”
Former trade advisor to Moreno says that the biggest obstacle to a recall is timing. “Everyone is focused on the February elections and it will almost impossible to create enthusiasm for a recall during the campaign season,” he says. “The Correistas remember what happened in 2014 and are committed to doing well in the provincial and cantonal elections. The losses in 2014 convinced Correa he could not another presidential term and he decided to leave office.”