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National Assembly of Ecuador named María Alejandra Vicuña as vice-president of the nation on January 6, after former Vice-President Jorge Glas was sentenced to six years in prison for his illicit association with the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.

Vicuña, who is 39 years old, is a clinical psychologist and a business administrator. She has twice occupied the position of Assembly woman for the Province of Guayas in the periods 2009-2013 and 2013-2017. Also, she was vice-president of the Legislative Commission specializing in the Right to Health and Regional Human Talent Coordinator of the Internal Revenue Service (the Agency for tax collection of the State, SRI).

Since October 3, 2017, Vicuña had been serving as the acting vice-president, after Glas, who was in office since 2013, was judicialized and placed under preventive detention. Glas was found guilty of receiving $ 13.5 million in bribes from Odebrecht.

María Alejandra Vicuña, becomes then the youngest vice-president of the country and the second woman to play the role. The first woman was Rosalía Arteaga in 1996. 

With 70 votes in favor, 17 against, and 19 abstentions of 106 present in the session, Vicuña was appointed for National Assembly to complete the period fow which Jorge Glas was elected. 

Thus, Vicuña will occupy the vice-presidency until 2021. It is important to highlight that a new change in this position cannot be made again, since as stipulated in the Ecuador´s Constitution, a vice-president can only be replaced once during a current presidential term.

The designated vice president, who had been serving as Minister of Urban Development and Housing, before being vie-president in charge, belonged to the list of women sent by President Lenin Moreno. In the list, there were the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador.

Vicuña, in her first statements as designated vice-president, spoke about the deepening of the economic, political, and social processes that she will advance during her period. Also, Vicuña promotes the popular referendum to reform the constitution, that is scheduled for February 4 of the year in course.

Impeachment against Jorge Glas is suspended 

After the official designation of Vicuña as Vice-President of Ecuador, the Parliamentary Commission of Oversight of the country, desisted from continuing the impeachment against former Vice President Jorge Glas. The Commission argued that since Glas is no longer a public servant, the political process should be suspended.

Glas was sentenced in December 13th 2017, to six years in prison for the crime of conspiracy in the Odebrecht case, in which he is accused of embezzling $ 13.5 million alongside with his uncle, Ricardo Rivera.

LatinAmerican Post | Krishna Jaramillo

Copy edited by Marcela Peñaloza

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