In a Wednesday morning interview, President Guillermo Lasso said he will not appear before the National Assembly to answer questions about his offshore investments listed in the so-called Pandora Papers. “I have no intentions of honoring the conspiratorial whims of the Correísta bloc in the Assembly,” he said. “I was pleased to see that they could only muster 51 votes for their impeachment recommendation. In the end, common sense prevailed.”
Lasso said he would send the final report of the Comptrollers office investigation of his investments to the Assembly. “I will make the full review available to the full membership,” he said. “It forcefully and clearly demonstrates that I fully complied with the law and should answer any questions the members have. There is no need for me to appear in person.”
On Tuesday, the National Assembly rejected a proposal by UNES [Correista] Assemblyman Paola Cabezas to begin an impeachment trial against Lasso. The proposal received 51 votes, mostly from UNES members, 19 short of the 70 needed to pass. Ninety votes are required to remove the president from office.
The Assembly then passed a motion by Democratic Left Assemblyman Alejandro Jaramillo to request that Lasso attend a full session of the Assembly to answer questions about the Pandora Papers revelations.
In response to other interview questions posed by journalists Milton Pérez and Miguel Rivadeneira at Carondelet Palace, Lasso said his Law on Economic Development cannot be changed or revoked by the Assembly. The law took effect last week by default when UNES members abstained on the final vote. “Since I was the one who introduced the legislation, it cannot be amended and this is clearly stated in Assembly rules.”
Members of UNES and Pachakutik have announced they will introduce new legislation to rewrite the law that imposes new taxes on corporations and wage earners making more than $2,000 a month.
Lasso also praised the announcement by the Ministry of Health that it would restock the pharmacies of the country’s public and Social Security hospitals. “We inherited a mess from the two previous administrations in which the hospitals lacked essential medicines, including those required for patients with catastrophic diseases,” he said. “We have developed procedures and mechanisms that will prevent these shortages from occurring in the future.”
On Tuesday, the government announced it will receive a $325 million loan from the Development Bank of Latin America to bolster the public health system. The money will go for the purchase of medical supplies, additional Covid-19 vaccines if needed, and for structural improvements to some hospitals.