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Saturday, May 20, 2023

Corruption charges – Impeachment and Interim elections

Corruption charges – Impeachment and Interim elections @ Ecuador  

Imp pre-script :  International news – this is Current affairs and not Politics !! 

He was considered by many to be one of the greatest tennis players never to be ranked as the world number one, the Q was -  was he  unfairly denied a place at the top of the rankings for the past 45 years? That was  the question posed in a documentary released on Netflix  detailing the Argentine’s career and fight to be recognised as a world number one.  He had won four Grand Slam titles and 62 career titles overall came in one of the most competitive eras of ATP history, with Bjorn Borg and Jimmy Connors just two of his contemporaries during his prime in the mid to late 1970s.  Not even Rafael Nadal matches the Argentine’s 659 match wins on clay, whilst his 16 titles in 1977 is an unmatched record now unlikely to be challenged by any man or woman who steps onto a tennis court. Yet despite those records, coupled with a 46-match winning streak on all surfaces and 53 straight wins on clay during his prime, he never reached the top spot.

Guillermo Vilas  !!  -  the  name Guillermo means ‘with Gilded Helmet’ and is of Spanish origin. In the ATP computer rankings, he peaked at No. 2 in April 1975, a position that he held for a total of 83 weeks. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1991.   In 2016, The Daily Telegraph ranked him as the 3rd best male clay-court player of all time, behind Rafael Nadal and Björn Borg.  Historical and statistical studies presented in 2015 by Argentinian journalist Eduardo Puppo and Romanian mathematician Marian Ciulpan concluded that Vilas should have been No. 1 in the old ATP ranking system for seven weeks between 1975 and 1976. The ATP Tour and its chief executive at that time, Chris Kermode, although not refuting the data, decided not to officially recognize Vilas.   In Oct 2020, Netflix released a documentary film about the Vilas case titled "Guillermo Vilas: Settling the Score".

This is no post on the Tennis legend but on a man with the same surname - during the 1990s, this man  was named the head of operations in Ecuador for Coca-Cola, following the local bankruptcy of the company in that region. In this role, he was tasked with restructuring the company and bringing it back to financial health. He has since sat on the boards of directors for both Coca-Cola, and Mavesa, and also served as Chairman of the board of directors of the Guayas Transit Commission as well as being a member of the Board of Directors of the Andean Development Corporation.  .. .. he came back to become the President of Ecuador.

Ecuador is a country in northwestern South America, bordered by Colombi, Peru, & Pacific Ocean.   Ecuador also includes the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific, about 1,000 kilometres (621 mi) west of the mainland. The capital is Quito. The territories of modern-day Ecuador were once home to a variety of Amerindian groups that were gradually incorporated into the Inca Empire during the 15th century. The territory was colonized by Spain during the 16th century, achieving independence in 1820 as part of Gran Colombia, from which it emerged as its own sovereign state in 1830.  Spanish is the official language and is spoken by a majority of the population, though 13 Native languages are also recognized, including Quechua and Shuar.   

The man - Guillermo Alberto Santiago Lasso Mendoza  is an Ecuadorian businessman and politician who became e president-elect of Ecuador.  He was a candidate in the 2021 general election, defeating Andrés Arauz in an upset victory. He previously ran for president in the 2013 and 2017 elections. In 2013, Lasso came in a distant second place behind President Rafael Correa by a landslide margin.  In the 2017 election, he advanced to the run-off running against Vice President Lenin Moreno but narrowly lost the election. Lasso served as Superminister of Economy during the Jamil Mahuad presidency briefly in 1999. He previously served as Governor of Guayas from 1998 until 1999. Aside from his political career, Lasso is also a banker and previously served as CEO of Banco Guayaquil.  

A political crisis began in Ecuador on 17 May 2023 as a result of the impeachment trial against President Guillermo Lasso. The impeachment inquiry began in the National Assembly on 9 May and lasted until 17 May when Lasso dissolved parliament through the constitutional provision known as muertecruzada ("mutual death"). This triggered the end of the impeachment inquiry as it dissolved the National Assembly and caused an earlier general election. This is the first time an Ecuadorian president has used this constitutional measure and several observers have called it a self-coup.

On 9 January 2023, La Posta [es] published a report titled El Gran Padrino ("The Great Godfather"), in which it detailed an alleged corruption plot within public companies centered around Danilo Carrera Drouet, brother-in-law of President Guillermo Lasso.  Following the publication, on 18 January 2023, the National Assembly created a commission for "truth, justice and the fight against corruption" in the alleged corruption case against Lasso.  After investigations were carried out, a non-binding report was presented that permitted the Assembly to initiate impeachment proceedings against the Nation’s President.

On 17 May 2023, Lasso invoked the muertecruzada constitutional measure while accusing the lawmakers who pushed for his ousting of focusing "on destabilizing the government".  This mechanism allows the president to dissolve the National Assembly, and call for an earlier presidential and legislative elections.  During the period leading up to the special election, Lasso would govern Ecuador under decree.  On that day itself, Lasso ordered the militarization of the Legislative Palace in Quito, preventing access to the personnel working in the building and to the assembly members, who planned to continue with the session debating the president's impeachment. On 18 May, several members of the National Assembly who were ousted by Lasso's decree, publicly denounced it and questioned its constitutional merit because the country was not facing an urgent crisis at the time it was invoked.  Former Assembly President Virgilio Saquicela filed a lawsuit before the Constitutional Court against Lasso's decree calling it unconstitutional. !!

Ecuador’s Constitutional Court on Thursday paved the way for early legislative and presidential elections, rejecting a series of cases brought by opposition politicians to block President Guillermo Lasso’s decision to dissolve the National Assembly. Earlier on Thursday, Ecuador’s electoral court said elections brought forward from 2025 could take place on Aug. 20. If there is a run-off election for President, it could be held on Oct. 15, Atamaint said. Lasso will remain in office and govern by decree until his successor and a new legislature are elected, according to the constitution.

Interestingly, those elected to power in the early elections in August – including lawmakers and the president – would only serve until regularly scheduled elections are held in 2025.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar


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