Ecuador's transitory Citizen Participation and Social Control Council ratified its decision to dismiss the nine justices of the Constitutional Court, Ecuador’s highest court, after denying a request to review the decision Friday.
Six of the seven council members voted to ratify the decision first announced on August 23. The council also decided to begin the selection process to replace the nine justices without naming provisional authorities.
With this decision, Ecuadoreans will have no Constitutional Court for 60 days, the extraordinary period defined by the council as the limit to appoint the new judicial officials.
The president of the transitory council, Julio Cesar Trujillo, told local media “we have fulfilled the process to evaluate authorities within the first six months of our term. We hope to have laid out the basis for new democratic, independent, honest and responsible institutions for the people of Ecuador.”
According to the transitory Council, the decision to dismiss the justices was made on the basis that its predecessor did not act independently when assigning justices the court’s justices in 2012. In their report, they claim there was a conflict of interests that benefitted former President Rafael Correa and acted with discretion when selecting cases for review.
The National Assembly elected members of the transitory council from a list of candidates submitted by president Lenin Moreno. Government detractors point to this as interference from the executive in the council, the fifth power of the Ecuadorean state.
The Council has the power to designate 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.
Citizens will elect a permanent Council in May 2019.
The previous permanent Council was dissolved through a controversial popular consultation and referendum, which gave the president power to dismiss its members and submit candidates for a transitory Council. The referendum also modified the way in which Council members are chosen.