The second attempt to impeach President Guillermo Lasso by the National Assembly appears doomed. On Wednesday, the leader of the Assembly’s Union of Hope delegation, which had earlier promoted impeachment, admitted there were not enough votes to pursue the matter.
In an about-face, UNES Assembly woman Pamela Aguirre said that impeachment of the president is “off the table” for the foreseeable future. “To continue this effort is not constructive at the present moment and will not solve insecurity in the country,” she said. “We must work together to solve the crisis.” A week ago, Aguirre blamed gang violence in three coastal province on Lasso, claiming it warranted his removal from office.
“Even the Corresitas say impeachment is a stupid idea,” said Juan Fernando Flores, of Lasso’s Creo party. “It is absurd to blame a problem that developed over 20 years on the president and even more absurd to say he should be impeached for it.”
Some in the UNES delegation rejected Aguirre’s change of heart. “I plan to pursue this and bring it before the full Assembly for a vote,” said Ronny Aleaga. “Lasso has allowed the situation to get out of hand in the prisons and in Guayaquil and his inaction warrants impeachment,” Aleaga said. “He is blaming the problem on Rafael Correa when it is one of his own making.”
An unnamed member of the UNES delegation said he believes it is a waste of time to consider impeachment. “We are at least 20 votes short and there are constitutional questions of whether we can even call a trial,” he said. “Even if Lasso is removed, he would be replaced by the vice president who, by law, cannot be removed until the end of his term.”
Ecuador’s Constitutional Court issued an opinion earlier this year that the National Assembly can only conduct one impeachment trial during a presidential term except under extraordinary circumstances.
Lasso survived and earlier impeachment attempt during the indigenous strike in June.