The National Assembly is scheduled to begin debate today on a report that recommends the impeachment of President Guillermo Lasso but its supporters do not appear to have the votes necessary for its adoption.
The 291-page report, released by the Assembly’s Constitutional Guarantee Commission on November 6, lacked widespread support from the beginning. Two members of the commission claimed its language had been changed minutes before a final vote to include a charge against Lasso of “creating social and political instability in the country.”
Support for impeachment comes primarily from members the UNES bloc of the Assembly, supporters of former president Rafael Correa. Leadership of the indigenous Pachakutik party, which had originally supported the report, have since decided the legality of Lasso’s offshore accounts, revealed in the Pandora Papers, should be decided by the Comptroller and Attorney General.
Pachakutik Assemblyman Ronny Aleaga says most members of his bloc favor an investigation but believe there is insufficient evidence of illegality to begin an impeachment trial. “There may be wrongdoing but it should be investigated by the proper authorities, not debated in the political arena,” he said, adding that the charges of social instability in the country are “not justified by the facts.”
Political science professor Gustavo Alemán claims the Correstisa effort to oust Lasso has failed. “It has been a bad season for the Corresistas and the rejection of the impeachment report is yet another embarrassment.”
According to Alemán, the impeachment was “alive and well” until the last minute changes were made to the Constitutional Guarantee Commission’s report. “They had substantial support from Pachakutik until then despite the feeling of many that there was a lack of hard evidence that Lasso had broken the law. There were enough Pachakutik and Democratic Left votes for adoption of the report and a debate in the full Assembly that could have led to an impeachment trial. That changed, however, when the commission leadership added the charge of instability.”
Alemán adds that the failure of October general strike and the recent “miscalculation” that allowed Lasso’s tax law to take effect, have left the Corresistas isolated. “Even though this is a left-of-center Assembly, there is a great amount of distrust toward the Correistas and the bloc’s failures in the last two months have reduced its influence considerably.”