Vicuña, 29, has been serving as interim Vice President since October 3 after Glas was put in preventative custody during ongoing investigations into the bribes he accepted from the Brazilian construction company Odebtrecht. Vicuña won approval from the country’s legislative branch with 70 votes of support out of the 69 that were needed. Seventeen voted against her and 19 abstained.
Former Vice President Glas was allowed a maximum 90 days of absence from his position, according to the constitution, before it was considered a “definitive departure” and President Lenin Moreno could submit other possible candidates to legislators. Moreno submitted three candidates for the position, including Chancellor María Fernanda Espinosa and Minister of Justice Rosana Alvarado. Officials ultimately went with Vicuña.
She will serve as Vice President until 2021. Previously, Vicuña represented the province of Guayas in the National Assembly and before that was a marketing manager for the Ministry of Tourism. In the National Assembly, she was the Vice President of the Commission on the Right to Health as well as the Regional Coordinator of Talent for the country’s Internal Revenue Service.
La Asamblea Nacional lo ha decidido. Felicitaciones a la Vicepresidenta María Alejandra Vicuña. ¡Continuaremos trabajando por la equidad y la inclusión! #AlejandraVicuñaVicepresidenta
— Lenín Moreno (@Lenin) January 6, 2018
Tweet: The National Assembly has decided. Congratulations to vice president María Alejandra Vicuña. We will continue to work for equality and inclusion.
Expresar mi profundo agradecimiento al Presidente @Lenin Moreno por la confianza puesta en las mujeres ecuatorianas, la misma que se ha expresado de forma clara y frontal al conformar la terna que ha sido presentada a la Asamblea por tres mujeres.#AlejandraVicuñaVicepresidenta
— Ma. Alejandra Vicuña (@marialevicuna) January 6, 2018
Glas, meanwhile, remains in custody, and faces a sentence of six years in prison for corruption. He continues to deny any wrongdoing. His attorney, Eduardo Franco Loor, claimed Vicuña’s appointment was an “unconstitutional act.”
As expected, Glas also expressed his disagreement with Parliament’s decision to permanently replace him.
Supporters of former President Rafael Correa — who have been staunchly against much of the decisions thus far made by Moreno’s adminsitration — spoke out against Vicuña’s appointment as well.
Vicuña "vicepresidenta de la república". ¡Que bajo se cayó! Un binomio presidencial propio de los momentos que vive Ecuador: mediocridad, incompetencia, arribismo; y, deslealtad.
— Marco Navas (@MarcoAnibal) January 6, 2018
Tweet: Vicuña “vice president of the republic”. How far we have fallen! A presidential duo that exemplifies modern day Ecuador: mediocre, incompetent, fake, and disloyal.
Lapidario y doloroso. Las tres fueron personas muy cercanas y queridas.
Fíjense lo que dice Espinoza sobre JORGE Glas.
Si un valor debe tener en la vida un revolucionario, es la coherencia y lealtad.
Por eso, en la consulta: NO. https://t.co/QCuPEUrzp4
— Rafael Correa (@MashiRafael) January 5, 2018
Tweet: A painful decision.
All three [candidates] were once near and dear to me. Look at what Espinoza had to say about Glas. If there is one value that a person should have as a revolutionary, it is coherence and loyalty.
For this reason I say NO to his replacement.
Guillermo Lasso, former presidential opponent to Moreno, also spoke out against the appointment, saying the majority of Ecuadorians want a change that reflects their support of the public referendum.
“(During her time as a) member of the assembly, she supported a constitutional reform that would allow for perpetual reelections,” Lasso said of Vicuña. “Taking advantage of her immunity as a legislator, she published illegal recordings obtained during private dialogues with opposition members.”
— Guillermo Lasso (@LassoGuillermo) January 5, 2018
DUDA: La nueva vicepresidenta de Ecuador, María Alejandra Vicuña, estuvo a favor de la reelección. Hasta discurso a favor de la reelección hizo. ¿Votará No en la pregunta 3 de la Consulta Popular?
— Kintto Lucas (@KinttoLucas) January 6, 2018
— 4 Pelagatos (@4pelagatos4) January 6, 2018
Tweet: The appointment of María Alejandra Vicuña proves it; Moreno wants Correismo, without Correa, but with the AP. There is no hope for the party.
Tweet: The appointment of Vicuña as vice president shows once again how the AP takes advantage of the Ecuadorian people; who continue to be submerged in the lethargy that appears to be eternal, putting up with absolutely everything with total submission, but for how long?