Ecuador names new vice president

Monday, January 8, 2018

Ecuador's national assembly has elected a new vice president of the country.

Thirty-nine-year-old María Vicuña becomes the second woman in Ecuador's history to be appointed to the role, the national assembly said in a statement.

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President Lenín Moreno had submitted a shortlist of three women.

Vicuña, who in 2009 first became an assembly member representing the province of Guayas, said she would fulfill her duties with "complete honesty and transparency and commitment to the people of Ecuador and their hopes and ambitions."

A psychologist with a master's degree in business administration, Vicuña was sworn in by national assembly president José Serrano (pictured)

The election is the result of the downfall of former vice president Jorge Glas, who was last month sentenced to six years in jail.

In a plea deal with Brazilian authorities, disgraced Brazilian construction group Odebrecht admitted having paid US$33mn in bribes to public officials in Ecuador, including Glas.

Glas claims he is innocent and former president Rafael Correa told CNN after the conviction that Glas was a "political prisoner."

Relations between Correa and his one-time friend Moreno have also been soured over plans by Moreno to hold a public referendum next month. Ecuadorans are due to be asked whether a limit should be placed on the number of terms for which a president can be re-elected.

In 2015, when Correa was in office, the constitution was changed, allowing presidents to be re-elected indefinitely.