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Political battle brews over the authority of the elected Citizens Participation Council

Ecuador’s attorney general’s office says that it is beginning an investigation of members of the recently elected Council for Citizen Participation and Social Control (Cpccs). The action follows a vote by the Cpccs to review judicial appointments made by its predecessor council, the transitional Cpccs, that ended its service in June.

Ecuador Attorney General Diana Salazar

Specifically, the investigation is aimed at Cpccs members José Tuárez, Rosa Chalá, Victoria Desintonio and Walter Gómez who voted in favor of the review.

Attorney General Diana Salazar said Thursday that the new Cpccs, elected in March, cannot review the work of the transitional Cpccs, which was established by the February 2018 public referendum. “The transition council was given extraordinary powers by the people of Ecuador to investigate and review previous public appointments for corruption and incompetence. It was made clear that the new council does not have the authority to review the work and appointments of the transitional Cpccs. This has been established by the Constitutional Court.”

Salazar’s investigation is based in part on complaints filed by National Assembly members Jeannine Cruz, Raúl Tello and Geovanni Atarihuana who claim that the Cpccs is overstepping its mandate.

According to former federal prosecutor Raúl Heridia, the conflict between the new and old Cpccs is political. “Some members of the council elected in the last election have sympathies for former president [Rafael] Correa and believe the work of the transitional council was aimed primarily at removing judges and other officials appointed during Correa’s administration,” he says. “The current government obviously holds the upper hand in this conflict.”