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Quito, May 15 – Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso will face an impeachment trial on Tuesday for alleged embezzlement, Virgilio Saquicela, president of the National Assembly, has announced.
According to Saquicela, the trial will begin at 10 a.m. in keeping with legislative regulations after a motion to hold impeachment proceedings was approved last week, reports Xinhua news agency.
Lasso, a 67-year-old former banker, is accused by the opposition of embezzling funds through a contract signed between state-owned oil tanker fleet Flota Petrolera Ecuatoriana and the privately-owned company Amazonas Tanker, for the rental of vessels to ship hydrocarbons.
The contract was signed in 2018 and renewed in 2020, before Lasso became president in May 2021.
But his opponents claimed he allowed the business arrangement to continue despite knowing it meant losses for the state.
After the trial, the National Assembly must convene another plenary session, where lawmakers will vote for or against Lasso’s impeachment and a possible ouster from office.
The session could be held as soon as Saturday.
Lasso, who will complete two years in office on May 24, said he would appear before lawmakers to defend himself against what he described as a “parliamentary coup d’etat”.
This marks the first time in 44 years that an Ecuadorian President has faced a possible impeachment by the National Assembly.
Lasso can be ousted with the votes of two-thirds of the 137-member National Assembly, or 92 lawmakers.