Vice President Veronica Abad is seen in this handout photo speaking to the media in her office on November 28, 2023 / © Ecuador's vice-presidency/AFP
Ecuador's new president and vice president have been in office less than a week -- but it's already clear no love is lost between them.
Vice President Veronica Abad complained Tuesday that President Daniel Noboa was posting her to Tel Aviv to help seek Middle East peace -- apparently on a permanent basis.
"We can't bury our head in the sand. The president wants me far from here," Abad told reporters in her office suite in Quito.
Ecuadoran media have reported rumors of a rupture between the two dating back to the campaign.
Abad said things really went south last week, when she was not invited to the celebratory luncheon Thursday in the presidential palace after the new administration was inaugurated, nor to join the cabinet on Sunday to have an official photo taken.
After being sworn in, Abad instead went to a local market and ate with vendors there, she said.
The strains may be over politics, and the ruling party's efforts to win support from other factions.
The National Democratic Action (ADN) party, which brought Noboa to power, allied with the leftist Citizen Revolution movement of former president Rafael Correa (2007-2017), who lives in exile, and the rightist Social Christian Party in order to gain a majority in Congress.
A day after his inauguration, Noboa, who says he is of the center-left, decreed that Abad would have as her "only duty" to be a "collaborator for peace and safeguard against rising conflict between Israel and Palestine."
According to the presidential decree, this job is to be based in Ecuador's embassy in Tel Aviv.
Abad holds positions further to the political right than Noboa.
Abad did not say when she would travel to Israel -- but suggested that the monumental task dropped in her lap might be a tad ambitious.
"If the United States, with its political power and the millions that it has injected into the conflict to seek peace between Israel and Palestine, has not been successful, the task entrusted is a huge challenge," she said.
Ecuador's constitution says the vice president will take over for the president in cases of temporary or permanent absence. But beyond that, the veep is simply tasked with whatever the president assigns him or her.
Abad said she met Noboa two years ago, and he later invited her to join his presidential ticket.
Noboa, a 35-year-old millionaire heir, surged from outsider status in the first round presidential elections in August, then captured 52 percent of the vote in a runoff in October.
He will serve only 18 months, the remainder of the term of Guillermo Lasso, who called snap elections earlier this year to avoid impeachment.