Lasso to resubmit ‘Opportunities’ Law, doesn’t rule out calling new elections; Bank clients warned of scams; Traffic fines may cover bus subsidy

Oct 16, 2021 | 2 comments

President Guillermo Lasso has agreed to divide his Opportunities Law proposal into three parts to satisfy concerns of the National Assembly. At the same time, he said that if the Assembly fails to act on the legislation he will not hesitate to invoke the so-called “La Muerte Cruzada,” or Death Cross, dissolving the Assembly and forcing new elections. The Death Cross also requires the president to stand for re-election.

President Guillermo Lasso is threatening to invoke “La Muerte Cruzada,” or the Death Cross, dissolving the National Assembly.

“Although I do not agree with its position, I understand the Assembly’s concern that ‘Opportunities’ violates the constitutional requirement that a law deal with only one subject. I will divide the legislation into three parts,  taxation, labor and investments, and resubmit it.”

Lasso did not provide a date for resubmission of the legislation.

According to the president, the Assembly’s Legislative Administration Council (CAL) made a political decision in rejecting his submission of a single piece of legislation. “Because I consider the passage of Opportunities critical for the recovery of the economy, I will go along with the request. However, if there is further obstruction I may be forced to go to the Death Cross.”

Opportunities, which revises existing employment law to make it easier for employers to hire and fire new employees, and to hire on a contract basis for up to four years, is opposed by labor unions and most leftist Assembly members.

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Cuenca to pay bus subsidy with traffic fines
Mayor Pedro Palacios says he wants to pay a subsidy to companies that operate the city’s public buses with traffic fines. The mayor says he agrees the companies need assistance due to the economic pressures of the Covid pandemic but said it could not be paid through the city’s general budget. “City finances are already strained due to the crisis but we are willing allocate money collected for traffic violations by EMOV [Mobility, Transit and Transportation Authority].”

City bus owners have threatened to reduce service or call a work stoppage if it cannot reach an agreement with the city to increase revenue. It’s proposal to increase fares to 40 to 45 cents from the current 30 cents has been rejected by Palacios and the Municipal Council.

According to Diego Morales, president of the Council’s Transportation Commission, said there are three bus compensation scenarios being considered, ranging from $600,000 to $1.5 million. “Once the Council agrees on the approach of using traffic fine money for the subsidy, we will talk to bus owners to determine the amount they need for operations,” he said.

Several Municipal Council members say they are concerned the plan would result in more aggressive fining for traffic violations but they say they will wait to see a final plan before presenting objections.

Pichincha clients warned of scams
Although it is unclear if customer information was stolen during the recent cyber attack on Banco Pichincha’s online system, bank customers are being warned not to provide bank account numbers and ATM logins to email requests.

“The bank will never ask you for account or login information by email,” Pichincha said in a statement Friday. “If customers are asked for such information they should not provide it and report the request to the bank,” the bank said in a statement. According to the statement, thousands of customers have been asked for personal information in the past seven days in emails titled “Validation process” and “Online banking suspended.”

If bank customers receive such emails, or others that seem suspicious, they are asked to call Banco Pichincha customer service at (02) 299-9999 to make a report.

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