By Alexandra Valencia
QUITO (Reuters) – Ecuador’s National Assembly chose a conservative as its president on Friday as the new legislative period began, amid a deal between the parties of President-elect Daniel Noboa and ex-President Rafael Correa to form a majority.
Businessman Henry Kronfle, 51, was elected with 128 votes from the legislature’s 137 members. Nine abstained.
The legislature was dissolved in May by outgoing President Guillermo Lasso to avoid his own likely impeachment, bringing forward legislative and presidential elections scheduled for 2025.
The conservative Social Christian Party (PSC), Correa’s Citizens’ Revolution movement, and Noboa’s National Democratic Action (ADN) had agreed to form a legislative majority of at least 85 votes.
“Let’s build a better country, beyond our parties and movements, in which we can deliver so many unfulfilled promises to the Ecuadorean people,” said Kronfle, of the PSC, after assuming his role.
The deal is part of “a great union to move the country forward,” Noboa said on Wednesday, adding he will have zero tolerance for corruption or anyone blocking the government’s projects.
The coalition is meant to support Noboa’s proposals, including plans to generate jobs, especially for young people, and tackle violence, ADN said in a statement this week.
It will also be able to name the heads of key legislative committees.
Analysts say the coalition could help Noboa ensure he is able to govern – unlike his predecessor Lasso – during his truncated term.
“Noboa wants to have 18 months of relative calm by reaching these agreements with both political parties,” said political analyst Alfredo Espinosa, adding Noboa recognizes he will not achieve anything without Correa’s support.
Correa’s movement has 51 seats in the assembly.
The Construye party of assassinated anti-corruption presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio, which has 18 seats, has said it will not join the coalition because of its opposition to Correa.
Noboa, who won a runoff election in October to beat Correa’s protégé Luisa Gonzalez, will be sworn in next week.
(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Richard Chang)