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The Ecuadorian president faces impeachment on the 13th day of fuel price protests

#Ecuadorian #president #faces #impeachment #13th #day #fuel #price #protests

Ecuador’s president will face a no-confidence vote on Saturday, nearly two weeks after sometimes violent nationwide protests led by indigenous groups against rising fuel prices and the cost of living.

Opposition lawmakers convened the parliamentary session over President Guillermo Lasso’s role in “the grave political crisis and internal unrest” that has left six civilians dead and dozens injured on both sides in 13 days of revolt.

An estimated 14,000 protesters are taking part in a nationwide demonstration of discontent against mounting hardship in an economy hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Most of the anger is concentrated in the capital, Quito, where about 10,000 people, mostly from other parts of the country, have gathered in daily protests, marching with sticks and makeshift shields and shouting “Lasso out, out!”

On Friday, Lasso accused protesters of staging a “coup attempt” after two consecutive days of violent clashes with police and soldiers.

Protesters in Quito threw stones and Molotov cocktails and set off firecrackers near the Congress building. The security forces beat them back with tear gas.

– ‘Until we have results’ –

The protests were called by the powerful Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie), which is credited with overthrowing three presidents between 1997 and 2005.

Conaie leader Leonidas Iza told AFP this week the demonstrations would continue “until we have results.” We can no longer contain the anger of the people.”

The action was costly, with losses to the economy of around $50 million a day. Production of fuel – Ecuador’s biggest export – has been halved, according to the Energy Department.

Six of the country’s 24 provinces are under a state of emergency and a night-time curfew is in place in Quito, where business owners and workers in the capital are weary of the disruption to their lives and livelihoods.

The protesters are demanding cuts in already subsidized fuel prices, which have risen sharply in recent months, as well as jobs, food price controls and more public spending on health and education.

Ecuador’s National Assembly will meet at 18:00 (2300 GMT) on Saturday to vote on whether to vote on whether to invest in Lasso, a conservative ex-banker who took power a year ago and who is self-isolating after being diagnosed with Covid-19 , should be discontinued or not.

The vote comes at the request of the 47 MPs from the left-wing opposition coalition Union for Hope.

Lasso’s removal would require 92 out of 137 votes in the assembly, where opposition parties hold a majority.

If Lasso is deposed, Vice President Alfredo Borrero will temporarily assume power and call new presidential and general elections.

The government has dismissed protesters’ calls for a cut in fuel prices, saying it would cost the government a prohibitive billion dollars a year.

Both sides have accused each other of intransigence and no negotiations have been programmed to try to end the standoff.

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