The National Assembly voted Wednesday to form a commission to investigate “failures of leadership” by Assembly President Guadalupe Llori. The commission is made up of her opponents and is expected to recommend her removal following 35 days of fact-finding and testimony.
The vote followed a judge’s decision to lift an earlier court order blocking the Assembly from forming the commission.
After the vote, Llori lashed out at opponents from the Union of Hope (UNES) and Social Christian (PSC), claiming the investigation is a “witch hunt” orchestrated by former president Rafael Correa. “They treat the Assembly as if it were a hacienda, not a democratic institution governed by laws and rules.”
She added that she has filed a new legal action to block the investigation, claiming it violates Assembly due process. “This flies in the face of traditional procedure in this body since it changes, without explanation, the approved agenda. As far as the charges against me, they are bogus since I have committed no transgressions in my role as president.”
It is unclear whether the investigation can begin while the court considers Llori’s complaint. “It would be a legal violation to begin an inquiry while the court and prosecutor consider the breach of protocol,” Llori supporter and member of the Creo party said. Juan F. Flores. “If it does proceed, it risks being invalidated by the court.”
In addition to the UNES and PSC blocs, several members of the Pachakutik party, which Llori is a member of, and the Democratic Left voted for the investigation, which passed with 81 of the Assembly’s 137 votes.
The chief charges against Llori, filed by Esteban Torres (PSC), are that she refused to change the agenda to address “critical issues supported by the majority” and that she exceeded legally established deadlines on three votes of the full Assembly.
During Wednesday’s debate, Marcela Holguín (UNES) called Llori’s claims of procedure violations is a “stalling tactic” to divert attention from her mismanagement. “It is time to move forward on this matter and put the delays and smokescreens behind us,” Holguín said.
Flores said that the investigation of Llori is “just the beginning” of the Correista effort to gain control of some government functions. “If they succeed here, they will move on to replace the attorney general, the judicial council and the elections commission,” he said. “The ultimate goal is to create a so-called truth commission that would exonerate Correa of his crimes and allow him to return to Ecuador.”