The National Assembly voted Tuesday night to remove Guadalupe Llori as president, replacing her with Assembly Vice President Virgilio Saquicela. The motion for Llori’s dismissal received 81 votes, 11 more than the 70 necessary.
According to the motion, Llori was removed for “breach of duty.”
Most of Llori’s supporters boycotted the session, calling it “farce and a kangaroo court”. Llori herself refused to attend and to present a defense and her next move is unclear. Last week, a court in Quito ruled that she could ignore the effort for her removal due to procedural violations by her opponents.
Despite the option of a legal challenge, some of her supporters said Tuesday night that it is time for Llori to step aside. “The votes for her removal are locked in and the issue will not go away,” said an unnamed Pachakutik party assemblywoman. “The Assembly is obsessed with replacing her and this is interfering with important work so it is time to put this behind us.”
Those voting for Llori’s removal were members of the Correista Union of Hope (UNES), the Christian Social Party as well as some members of the Democratic Left and Pachakutik parties. Llori is part of the Pachakutik delegation. The motion for Llori dismissal was presented by Marcela Holguín, the head of UNES, who claimed Llori had violated her duty to act for the benefit of the country. “All her actions of the past two months have been based on preserving her position in the Assembly,” Holguín said. “She has ignored call after call to address important Assembly business and has shelved all of them.”
Lloir ally and Pachakutik leader Salvador Quishpe claimed that her removal was a plot by the Correistas to “whitewash” the crimes of the government of former president Rafael Correa. “With Llori gone, they think they can legalize the corruption and graft of that administration and bring their fugitives back to Ecuador,” Quishpe said in remarks on the Assembly floor. When he was shouted down by the UNES delegation, he responded: “Silence, damn it, I’m talking!”
Following the session a member of the Democratic Left bloc said that Quishpe’s concerns were unfounded. “We support the Correistas to replace the president but this does not mean we will support the truth commission they want to establish to review their convictions,” the member, who asked to remain anonymous, said. “There was a great deal of corruption under Correa and that is a fact. On the other hand, we will support the positions of UNES where we have common interests, such as this case.”
After he was sworn in as Assembly president, Saquicela refused to allow a reading of the court decision allowing Llori to ignore the motion for her dismissal.