Ecuador’s Youngest President Faces Impeachment Claims Over Alleged Mental Incapacity

 June 21, 2024

The political climate in Ecuador has grown increasingly turbulent after opposition lawmakers began pushing for the impeachment of President Daniel Noboa. Appointed at the age of 36, Noboa, the youngest president in Ecuadorian history faces accusations from his adversaries in the National Assembly concerning his mental fitness to govern.

Breitbart reported that Esteban Torres, the Vice Minister of Government, highlighted that these movements within the National Assembly stem from fears over Noboa's popularity and the potential threat it poses to their political positions.

According to Torres, these allegations are strategic attempts to sideline a politically inconvenient adversary by questioning his psychological health.

Opposition figures, led by lawmaker Valentina Centeno, argue strenuously for the necessity of addressing what they term a "supposed mental disability" of President Noboa. They advocate for a formal declaration stating his incapacity, which would necessitate serious legal and medical examinations.

Administration Officials Rally in Defense

In contrast, Vice President Viviana Veloz and other government allies staunchly deny that any formal motion to declare Noboa mentally unfit is underway. They accuse the opposition of misrepresenting the situation to manipulate public opinion against the administration.

This scenario unfolds amid a backdrop of recent political instability in Ecuador, marked notably by significant electoral violence.

The assassination of Fernando Villavicencio, a pivotal figure and critic of corruption tied to former President Rafael Correa, underscores the precariousness of Ecuadorian politics.

Noboa ascended to the presidency following a tumultuous election period. He succeeded Guillermo Lasso, whose term was fraught with challenges, including numerous impeachment attempts. Lasso’s controversial decision in May 2023 to dissolve the legislative branch and govern by decree further inflamed tensions within the political sphere.

This is not the first time the specter of impeachment for mental incapacity has loomed over Ecuadorian politics. The impeachment of Abdalá Bucaram in 1997 for alleged mental incompetence illustrates the longevity and potential misuse of this political tactic.

Further complicating matters is a controversial article in the New Yorker by journalist Jon Lee Anderson, which cited unnamed advisers speculating about Noboa's mental health.

This piece has garnered international attention, prompting Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Gabriela Sommerfeld to claim that the article intended to sow discord among nations.

Sommerfeld asserted the remarks about Noboa were taken out of context, aimed at tarnishing his image and disrupting diplomatic relations. Alejandro Muñoz, General Secretary of Ecuador’s National Assembly, corroborated that there is no legislative resolution that contemplates a declaration of mental incapacity at the moment.


The evolving political drama in Ecuador reflects the complex interplay of internal governance challenges, historical political tactics, and the influence of international media.

It underscores the fragile nature of the country's democracy and the volatility that can arise from both genuine concern for leadership suitability and politically motivated strategies.

Ecuador faces a critical moment where the integrity of its political processes and the stability of its governance are at stake.

The accusations against President Noboa have ignited a fiery debate that extends beyond national borders, illustrating the challenging dynamics of leadership in a highly polarized environment. The outcome of these impeachment proceedings will likely have a profound impact on the political landscape of Ecuador and its international relations.

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