By Alexandra Valencia
QUITO, March 16 (Reuters) – A group of Ecuadorian opposition lawmakers formally requested on Thursday to initiate impeachment proceedings against President Guillermo Lasso over allegations of alleged corruption, which the president has strongly denied.
Earlier this month, lawmakers approved a report accusing Lasso of links to possible crimes against public administration, as part of investigations by the Attorney General’s office into allegations of corruption in public companies. .
They also voted to declassify records related to corruption investigations looking for evidence to support the impeachment attempt, but neither Lasso nor any of his relatives appear in the documents.
The official impeachment request – submitted by a lawmaker from former President Rafael Correa’s party – had 59 supporting signatures.
“This accusation will show how President Guillermo Lasso Mendoza participated in a corrupt structure to obtain his own benefits and those of third parties,” the lawmakers said in the lawsuit request.
The government rejected the opposition’s request because it lacks political and legal elements and said it was seeking to destabilize its nearly two-year administration.
“This political trial is not an act of control, but one more attempt at destabilization that the National Assembly has experienced in less than two years,” he added in a statement.
Proponents must obtain prior approval from the Constitutional Court for impeachment to take place.
A total of 92 lawmakers in the 137-member body are expected to approve the censure or removal of Lasso if the process results in a final vote.
“The president has political responsibility for the crimes of extortion and embezzlement. This Assembly will establish political responsibilities and justice must establish criminal responsibilities,” said Viviana Veloz, who presented the request.
Veloz added that there is “abundant” evidence for the impeachment request and that they have the necessary votes, adding that the facts point to corruption in public companies such as Petroecuador.
Lasso’s supporters have called the opposition’s efforts desperate attempts to tie the president, a conservative who has an adversarial relationship with the National Assembly, to “a novel”.
(Editing by Carlos Serrano)