Political notes: Noboa, Lasso begin presidential transition; National Assembly leadership is up for grabs; Anti-crime referendum is Noboa’s top priority

Oct 18, 2023 | 0 comments

President-elect Daniel Noboa and President Guillermo Lasso met Tuesday in what both say is the beginning the transition between the two governments. The two men held a private two-hour meeting that included current and future cabinet members.

“This was very constructive,” Noboa said after the meeting. “I need all the information I can get to make plans for my administration. President Lasso was very helpful and we will have more meetings during the next two months. This will be a smooth transition.”

President-elect Daniel Noboa and President Guillermo Lasso met at the presidential palace on Tuesday.

Noboa said a top priority is to meet with Lasso’s security council. “Battling organized crime is a matter of urgency and we will be meeting soon to share information about the situation. I will have a fully developed plan on the day I take office and this requires the cooperation of the law enforcement leadership.”

In addition to security, Noboa and Lasso also discussed economic issues and preparations for El Niño, the effects of which could arrive as early as late November.

Leadership of the new National Assembly is up for grabs
With Ecuador’s new National Assembly set to be installed the second week of December, the politicking is already underway for the body’s presidency. Top candidates include Marcela Holguín, Pierina Correa, Viviana Veloz of Citizens Revolution, Henry Kronfle and Dallyana Passailaigue of Social Christians and Sofia Sanchez of Construye.

“This will be an interesting contest since the old alliances have disappeared,” Kronfle says. “Although they have gained seats, the control that Citizens Revolution had in the last Assembly is gone.”

Of the new 137-seat Assembly Citizens Revolution has the largest bloc, with 52 members, while Construye, the party of assassinated presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio, has 29, the Social Christians have 18, and National Democratic Action, the party of President-elect Daniel Nobia, has 14.

Among the smaller delegations, Actuemos has 8 seats, Pachakutik has 5, Claro has 3, Centro Democrático has 2, and the Patriotic Society Party has 1. Local parties and independents account for the remaining 6 seats.

Kronfle and other Assembly members say the race for leadership is “wide open,” and could depend on the formation of new alliances over the next two months. “One thing we all agree on is that it is time to leave the old politics behind and work with the new government to solve the country’s problems.”

Anti-crime referendum a top priority for Noboa
President-elect Daniel Noboa repeated his pledge Tuesday to hold a referendum to fight crime within the first 100 days of his administration. He may also include a question that would relax hiring regulations for companies.

The anti-crime and security questions would ask voters to approve measures to allow the Armed Forces to collaborate with the National Police to combat organized crime. Currently, the military can only provide assistance under state of emergency declarations.

Another referendum question would create citizen juries for some trials and allow judges to rule anonymously in cases involving suspected gang activity.

Other questions would impose harsher penalties for some crimes and reorganize prisons to isolate gang leaders.

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