Guillermo Lasso: Ecuador’s president, facing looming impeachment vote, dissolves country’s National Assembly
Ecuador’s embattled President Guillermo Lasso, who faces a looming impeachment vote, has triggered a constitutional clause to dissolve the government, a politically charged move that could spark protests with the country already grappling with a fragile security situation.
The Ecuadorian leader invoked a procedure known as “mutual death” by which the opposition-led National Assembly will be dissolved and snap elections will be called, according to a decree published on the presidency’s website.
Lasso, who took office in 2021, is accused of interfering in negotiations on a shipping contract related to the export of petroleum products. He has denied all charges, claiming they are politically motivated.
Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso, pictured in Quito on May 16, 2023, set in motion a constitutional provision to dissolve the government.
Lasso is testifying in the National Assembly on Wednesday as part of the impeachment process against him for alleged corruption.
Lasso said his order for quick elections was the “best decision to pave the way for hope.”
“This is a new moment for optimism. Let’s build a better future for Ecuador,” he told the nation in a speech on Wednesday.
He argued that his decision was the way to stop the political confrontation in the country, adding that the crisis cost Ecuador millions of dollars.
“This is a democratic decision, not only because it is constitutional, but it also allows you to decide your future,” Lasso said.
On Sunday, opposition lawmaker Virgilio Saquicela was re-elected president of the assembly with 96 votes, while Lasso’s coalition holds 25 seats in the legislative chamber, a scenario that could give the opposition a chance to get enough votes to approve the impeachment.
The President’s decision to step in muerte cruzada meaning his government will remain in office until a new general election takes place in about six months.
But calls for his resignation have grown louder in recent months as Ecuador’s opposition and influential coalition of indigenous organizations accused Lasso of negligence in a country engulfed by a cost-of-living crisis and high rates of criminal violence.
Will Freeman, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said the application for muerte cruzada “would absolutely cause instability.”
“Lasso is too unpopular to benefit from the impression that he’s overriding checks and balances to finally get something done,” he told CNN before Wednesday’s announcement.