President Lenin Moreno says he will wait for the courts to rule on an appeal to Vice President Jorge Glas’ six-year prison sentence before seeking an official replacement. During an interview with a Spanish television network during his current European trip, he also blasted the “galloping corruption” of the final years of former president Rafael Correa’s administration.
In addition to waiting for the court appeal, Moreno said that Glas could be removed from office by impeachment in the National Assembly. “There are several ways the situation can be resolved and I will wait for the process to play out,” he said in told Spanish ABC television network.
Following Wednesday’s verdict, Glas said he would not resign his position until the appeals process is exhausted.
By law, if there is no legal or impeachment resolution to Glas’ vice presidential status by early January, Moreno can name a new vice president. A 90-day absence from the job is considered a dereliction of duty for elected officials.
Moreno named Maria Alejandra Vicuña acting vice president in early October after Glas was sent to jail.
Moreno called the level of corruption in Correa’s final term in office “scary.” He cited several large government projects affected by corruption, including the Pascuales-Cuenca Pipeline, Esmeraldas Refinery, Yachay University. “There were billions of dollars of cost over-runs in many projects due to the bribery and almost no effort to maintain deadlines and quality control,” Moreno said. “It seems that President Correa turned a blind eye to the corruption and the result is massive waste and many projects that remain uncompleted.”
Moreno added: “What I discovered when I assumed office was an economy that was in shambles. We have been forced to devote large amounts of resources to repairing the damage.”
Meanwhile in Panama, Correa called Glas a “political prisoner” following his conviction on corruption charges. “The next thing is that they will probably come after me,” Correa said. “This is a clear case of political persecution conducted by a government that is drunk with power.”