President Lenin Moreno has named former Housing Minister Maria Alejandra Vicuña as acting vice president following the pre-trial jailing of the elected vice president, Jorge Glas, on Monday night.
Moreno made the decision Wednesday following conversations with Justice Minister Rosana Alvarado. “At this time, the office of vice president is vacant due to the disabling of its former occupant,” the president said. “After consulting with my legal team, I have appointed Maria Alejandra Vicuña to assume the office and fulfill its functions,” he said. The appointment was made by executive decree.
According to Ecuadorian law, Vicuña’s appointment could become permanent if Glas is unavailable to perform his duties in three months. In that case, the National Assembly would be required to officially confirm her by a simple majority vote.
Glas was arrested and jailed Monday night on charges of illegal association in the Odebrecht bribery scandal. Prosecutors told the court that new charges may soon be filled against the vice president for accepting bribes and money laundering.
Moreno had stripped Glas of all vice presidential duties in July as a result of the Odebrecht investigation and public comments about the president.
Vicuña is a member of Alianza Pais, the political party of Moreno, Glas and former president, Rafael Correa. Prior to her appointment as housing minister, she served in Ecuador’s National Assembly. She is trained as a psychologist and business administrator.