With 84 votes in favor, 32 against and eight abstentions, lawmakers approved a motion of censure and deposed Jose Tuarez, Rosa Chala, Victoria Desintonio and Walter Gomez.
Ecuador’s National Assembly voted Wednesday to depose four democratically elected members of the Citizen Participation and Social Control Council in a highly questioned political move as they pledged to investigate President Lenin Moreno’s administration.
With 84 votes in favor, 32 against and eight abstentions, lawmakers approved a motion of censure and deposed Jose Tuarez, Rosa Chala, Victoria Desintonio and Walter Gomez as members of what it is often referred to as the fifth power in Ecuador.
The decision came after the council members announced on July 10 that, under their legal mandate, they would create a commission to review the decisions made by the interim Citizen Participation and Social Control Council (CPSCC) that was unconstitutionally appointed by Moreno.
The government-backed legislators that pushed for the motion argued that it was “illegal” to examine what the former council did as prior to leaving office such council, violating article 431 and 434 of Ecuador’s constitution, deposed the nine judges of the Constitutional Court and appointed their own, then the new court issued a ruling shielding all decisions made by the interim council.
“The removal of 4 CPCCS member not aligned with the government is a new soft coup. It is impossible in a democracy. Virtually all of them got more votes than the assembly members who "censored" them,” former President Rafael Correa tweeted after the voting was announced.
The Council represents the fifth power of the Ecuadorean state, along with the executive, legislative, judicial and electoral powers. It is in charge of designating the state attorney, all superintendents, the ombudsman, the public defender, the attorney general, the comptroller general, and the members of the National Electoral Council and judges of the Constitutional Court.
The seven members of the transitory Council are to be the National Assembly from seven three-name lists provided by the president. However, their popular-vote election was included in the March 24, 2019, national midterm elections.
The four deposed council members were among those with more votes during the elections and made up the majority vote in the seven-member body.
“As the result of the elections was not what they wanted and the council membres that reached the posts were not in favor of them today we have faced a parliamentary coup,” Desintonio told teleSUR.
Both Gomez and Desintonio were publicly supported by former President Correa, while Tuarez and Chala later criticized Moreno’s decisions, for which right-wing political parties and mass media marked them all as Correa-sympathizers. However, with their removal, alternate members will assume their position from which only one of them is critical of Moreno, thus aligning the new CPCCS with the government.
As the issue quickly became a trending topic on social media, many users, politicians, and legal experts condemned the resolution saying that it’s a clear attempt to take down a popular-supported power that was on the path to review and even revert illegal decisions made under Moreno’s administration.