Guayaquil banker Guillermo Lasso says President Rafael Correa is “provoking anger” in the Ecuadorian people and is demanding that the package of tax increases sent to the National Assembly last week should be withdrawn immediately.
Lasso, leader of the CREO political party, has announced that he will run for president in next February’s presidential elections.
“The solution for the economic problems of Ecuador is political change,” Lasso said on Monday. “If this terrible tax package becomes law, I will repeal it when I am elected,” he added.
Lasso said that Ecuador needs tax stability and an economic climate that invites international investment. “All this administration knows how to do,is to raise taxes and change laws,” he said. “We need to transform this environment, create jobs and rebuild our economy. Raising taxes for the 12th time in nine years is not the way to accomplish this.”
If he is elected, Lasso said he would sell off the “socialistic luxuries” of the current government, including presidential aircraft, the UNASUR headquarters in Quito, and new universities created by government.
In early presidential election polls, Lasso is the leading contender against potential candidates from Correa’s País party.
On Monday, Correa repeated his Saturday call for his supporters to demonstrate their support for the government on Thursday in Quito’s Plaza de la Independencia. Government opponents plan tax protests in several cities on Thursday. “It is time to defend the fatherland against those who oppose progress,” he said
Correa added: “We all know that protests are legitimate in a democracy, but there is no doubt that those who will march in opposition on Thursday want to destabilize the government.”