Guillermo Lasso takes office as President of Ecuador 

Lasso takes the new presidential mandate in Ecuador, receiving a country polarised and battered by the political tension of the past
Su Majestad el Rey con el presidente y la primera dama de la República del Ecuador PHOTO/ Casa de S.M. el Rey

PHOTO/ Casa de S.M. el Rey  -   His Majesty the King with the President and First Lady of the Republic of Ecuador

Former banker Guillermo Lasso was sworn in on Monday 24 May as the new president of Ecuador until 2025. During his swearing-in, he called for an end to the political division and harassment and the "cult of caudillismo" of previous periods, referring to the presidential term of Rafael Correa; Lasso defeated the Correa candidate in the second round, after obtaining 52% of the vote.  He promised a state capable of defeating COVID-19, which has caused a 13% increase in extreme poverty, and to this end he will distribute 9 million doses in the first 100 days of his government. 

Ecuador's new president said: "We will remain faithful to the strict margins dictated by the laws. We will have the humility, but above all the strength to say: I will be president. And only president (...). We will not persecute anyone. We will not silence anyone. We will govern for all. This means not governing in favour of a privileged sector, but not against anyone either. Whatever opinion you have, whatever criticism you make". 

Su Majestad el Rey y el presidente electo de la República del Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso acompañados por las delegaciones de ambos países durante su encuentro PHOTO/ Casa de S.M. el Rey
PHOTO/ Casa de S.M. el Rey-His Majesty the King and the President-elect of the Republic of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso accompanied by the delegations of both countries during their meeting.

The president-elect has made a fairly moderate speech, a tone he used in the last days of campaigning, moving from a right-wing discourse towards the centre, which allowed him to win the votes of some supporters of the Ecuadorian left. During the inauguration, he took advantage of the presence of the new President of Parliament, the indigenous Amazonian Guadalupe Llori, to strengthen their ties, "we want a country that is fairer to women, more responsible with nature, more equitable with the needy, that all politicians get used to the fact that this is what politics is about, contributing to the collective", said Lasso. 

His governability will be conditioned by the legislative branch, since the ruling CREO party won only 12 seats out of the 137 that make up the Parliament, which means that he will have to promote a culture of pacts within the parliamentary chamber in order to be able to count on the approval of the National Assembly and to build legislation in favour of his own administration. 

Vista general de la Asamblea Nacional durante la ceremonia PHOTO/ Casa de S.M. el Rey
PHOTO/ H.M. the King's Household-General view of the National Assembly during the ceremony

The Spanish representation invited to the inauguration ceremony was one of the most prominent. Despite the absence of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, King Felipe VI, Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya, former President José María Aznar and opposition leader Pablo Casado attended. For the first time, the Spanish monarch is at an inauguration in Ecuador, since he has been king (2014), this represents an important symbol and gesture for the maintenance of good diplomatic relations between Spain and the South American country.  President Jair Bolsonaro attended the inauguration, as did the president of the Dominican Republic, Luis Abinader. On the other hand, the president of Uruguay, Luis Lacalle, who had confirmed his attendance, cancelled at the last minute, due to the sudden death of his interior minister, Jorge Larrañaga. Another president who was unable to attend was Colombian President Iván Duque, who cancelled his trip due to the situation in Colombia as a result of the demonstrations.

Asamblea Nacional durante la ceremonia PHOTO/ Casa de S.M. el Rey
PHOTO/  H.M. The King's Household-National Assembly during the ceremony

President Lasso has made it clear that he will not maintain any kind of relationship with Nicolás Maduro, Ecuador recognises Juan Guaidó as interim president of Venezuela. For the inauguration, Guaidó has invited several representatives of the Venezuelan opposition, such as opposition leader Leopoldo López and his wife Lilian Tintori, along with the interim government's foreign minister Julio Borges, on his behalf. 

It is assumed that Guillermo Lasso's foreign policy will be along the same lines as that of former president Moreno, maintaining active diplomatic relations with the United States, Colombia and Brazil. It will be very interesting to observe how they deal with the governments in the region that oppose him ideologically, such as Bolivia, Argentina and Mexico. 

Latin America Coordinator: José Antonio Sierra.