Salem Radio Network News Tuesday, March 28, 2023

World

Ecuador lawmakers declassify documents in bid to impeach Lasso

By Alexandra Valencia

QUITO (Reuters) – Ecuador’s national assembly on Tuesday voted to declassify documents tied to investigations into allegations of corruption at public companies, in a bid to shore up impeachment charges against President Guillermo Lasso.

Earlier this month a majority of lawmakers in the assembly, whose members have repeatedly clashed with conservative Lasso, backed a report accusing him of connections to possible crimes against state security and public administration, assertions rejected by the government.

Though the assembly backed the non-binding report, which stemmed from ongoing investigations by the attorney general into alleged graft at state companies, the opposition is still examining which charges it wants to bring against Lasso and has not yet formally requested impeachment hearings.

The government made no immediate comment, but has said previously the report’s findings are based on coincidences and conjecture.

Lasso has denied corruption accusations and said his government will cooperate fully with the investigations by the attorney general’s office.

Tuesday’s resolution, adopted in a private session of the assembly’s 137 members, allows legislators access to the presidency’s visitor logs and information from the companies regulator.

“We have unanimously approved both the lifting of the classification of the information from the Superintendency of Companies – the box was opened in our presence – and the lifting of the classification of the logs from the presidency,” Pachakutik┬áparty lawmaker Darwin Pereira told journalists.

The visitors log will be digitized and shared with lawmakers, he added.

Any impeachment process against Lasso – who survived an ouster attempt last year during anti-government protests – would also require approval by the constitutional court.

Impeachment hearings, which need the votes of 92 legislators to proceed, could result in Lasso’s censure or his removal from office.

The CONAIE Indigenous organization, which led protests last year, has called for Lasso’s resignation but so far not backed national protests.

(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Sonali Paul)

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