According to President Lenin Moreno, Jorge Glas’ term as Ecuador vice president ended at midnight Tuesday based on a law that a president or vice president can be replaced if he or she has been absent from the job for 90 days. On Thursday, the president submitted a list of three replacement candidates to the National Assembly.
The list includes current acting vice president and Minister of Urban Development and Housing, María Alejandra Vicuña, who Moreno says is his first choice, Minister of Foreign Affairs, María Fernanda Espinosa, and Minister of Justice, Rosana Alvarado.
Due to the division in the Alianza País (AP) delegation in the Assembly, it is unclear if any of the three candidates will receive the 69 votes necessary to be officially named vice president. Twenty to 24 members of the 74-member delegation are aligned with former president Rafael Correa and against Moreno and dispute Moreno’s claim that Glas has lost his job. Delegations from other political parties may abstain or vote against all of the candidates.
The Correistas agree with Glas’ attorney, Eduardo Franco Loor, that Glas’ termination depends on a procedural and legal process that is not yet complete. “My client continues in his functions as vice president and he has no intention to resign,” he said. “Mr. Glas is scheduled for appearances before the Supervisory Commission and the National Assembly and until those dates are fulfilled he remains the legally elected vice president of Ecuador.”
Of Moreno’s claim that Glas’ term is ended, Loor said: “He does not have the legal or constitutional authority to make this call.”
Glas was jailed on a charge of illegal association in the Odebrecht scandal on October 3 and was convicted last month and sentenced to six years in prison. He is appealing the judgment.
According to Moreno, his only legal obligation is have the ministries of justice and labor certify that Glas has been absent from the job for 90 days. That certification is expected on Friday.
If none of Moreno’s three candidates receives 69 votes, a majority of the Assembly, the candidate with the most votes will assume the position on an interim basis until the next presidential election in 2021.