The National Assembly has elected, with 70 votes from 106 legislators present, María Alejandra Vicuña as Vice President of the Republic, replacing Jorge Glas, who is imprisoned after being sentenced to six years in prison for his involvement in an association case unlawful to commit a crime related to the Odebrecht scandal. Vicuña, 39, needed 69 votes to be elected.
The seventy votes in favor came out of the Alianza PAIS block, the SUMA movement, the so-called National Integration Block (Democratic Left, Pachakutik, Fuerza Ecuador), which were joined by three legislators who were part of CREO (Franco Romero, Fernando Burbano and Patricio Mendoza).
The CREO block voted against. The Social Christian Party abstained. Héctor Yépez, from the ranks of SUMA, also abstained. In total there were 17 votes against and 19 abstentions. Accompanied by several ministers and other state authorities, as well as by legislators and some diplomatic representatives, Vicuña took office after a session of the parliamentary forum in which she was appointed.
In her speech, Vicuña thanked the head of state “for the trust placed in Ecuadorian women,” when preparing a short list of three female officials. “There are no irreplaceable people, but irreplaceable causes,” said Vicuña, quoting former Uruguayan President José Mujica, whom he has described as “great”. “And history is not changed by Don Quixote, but the crowd of Sanchos.” He acknowledged that the circumstances of the national policy are “complex,” but said that his administration, according to the government’s ideology, will be based on three pillars: “unity, dialogue and democracy.”
In this challenge, Vicuña said, “the mettle of those who assume ourselves as revolutionaries” will be seen and highlighted the unity as a mechanism to “build great national agreements”. He declared that another of the Government’s challenges is to eradicate any hint of corruption, as well as to deepen democracy, and for this reason he highlighted the call for a popular consultation on February 4 on various topics. “We will consult the Ecuadorian people as many times as necessary to build popular power, as a pillar of a deep and true democracy,” he added. “We call on all social organizations to contribute to dialogue” and to “unity to overcome the structural causes” of the country’s problems, said Vicuña. She said she was willing to “fight the battle of ideas” and to seek “the best solutions to the problems the country has.” Vicuña was in the first place of a list of women proposed by the country’s president, Lenin Moreno, to replace Glas, and which also included the foreign minister, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, and the Minister of Justice, Rosana Alvarado.
For his part, the head of Parliament revealed that the head of state, through a communication, had been excused from attending the oath ceremony of his new vice president, for being in a process of recovery from a minor accident. However, Moreno wrote in his Twitter account: “The National Assembly has decided. Congratulations to the Vice President María Alejandra Vicuña. We will continue working for equity and inclusion! ” (I)