New political battle emerges as judge throws out Assembly’s choice for bank superintendent
Two National Assembly members have filed complaints against National Court Judge Larissa Ibarra for invalidating the appointment of Raúl González as Superintendent of Banks. The Assembly approved González as bank chief on Thursday.
Assembly members Luis Almeida (PSC) and Ferdinan Alvarez (Unes) claim that the decision creates a “paralysis of a public service” and follows an “arbitrary consideration” of the law. Alvarez also attacked the government for posting police at the entrance of the banking superintendencia on my Monday to deny González entrance.
Ibarra ruled González’s appointment invalid because it violated established procedure which allows the president to submit names to the Citizen Participation Council (Cpccs), which then forwards the approved nominee to the Assembly.
Hernán Ulloa, president of the Cpccs, said Monday that the council is in the process of reviewing President Guillmero Lasso’s candidates and will make a selection in the coming days. “We are proceeding based on precedent and will not be influenced by the political intrigue in the National Assembly,” he said. “We were pleased so see the judge uphold the legality of the process.”
Assembly members who voted against González’s appointment say the vote was a “Correista power grab” and that those voting in favor were simply following orders. “Everyone knew this violated the process but many voted for it anyway,” says Assmeblyman Jorge Abad. “The Correistas were promising a new indigenous university to members of Pachakutik if they voted for González. This is how dirty things have become in the Assembly.”
Alfredo Espinoza, political analyst and member of the Voces por la Democracia Collective, agrees with Abad and says “political interests” are carrying the day in the legislature.
“The action of both the Assembly and the Cpccs suggests that the system of checks and balances has broken and that political power is the only thing that counts,” he says. “This is a perfect illustration of why the citizens of Ecuador do not trust their government. Things are decided in the dark, based on narrow interests that are never revealed. The process is manipulated at the convenience and pleasure of the political elites, sometimes with the permission of the justice system.”