A crucial week begins for the survival of Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso’s government, which could be dismissed by the assembly in the coming days. However, the President has an ace: he can activate a constitutional measure that allows him to dissolve the Legislature.
The first blow to him was dealt by the assembly – dominated by the opposition – on Sunday, when it re-elected Virgilio Saquisela to its presidency by more than two-thirds of the 137 legislators, despite recent efforts by the executive. week to add assembly members to their hosts.
Saquisela decided that the final phase of Lasso’s impeachment trial would begin on Tuesday with the presence of the President before a plenary session of the Legislative Assembly, where members of the Assembly would have two hours to support the charge of embezzlement of public funds , after which the lasso will have the same amount of time. to the rescue. Then both sides will have an additional hour for possible countermeasures.
At the end of this preliminary procedure, the lasso will withdraw from the assembly and a debate will begin in which each of its 137 members will speak for 10 minutes.
According to the estimates of the same legislators, next Saturday a final session will be held to determine the fate of Lasso. The President has rejected the allegation of embezzlement of public funds which is against him and which has not yet been proved by the accusers.
Opposition assembly member Yesenia Gumani told the Telemazonas television network that “it is not possible to talk about whether there will be votes for expulsion” and that it would start to take shape after hearing the president in the assembly.
But at any time amid the impeachment process, Lasso can, according to the law, activate a constitutional measure that allows him to dissolve the assembly without the approval of any state body. If he so decides, he can rule by decree for six months, with the control of the Constitutional Court, and at the same time he must call presidential and legislative elections.
Juan Fernando Flores, head of the pro-government bench, told reporters that the resource was a “constitutional right that the president has, which is in the constitution.” He estimated Lasso would arrive at the assembly around noon on Tuesday, possibly accompanied by his cabinet and other government officials.
Julio Echevarría, an analyst and professor at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences, told The Associated Press that the president reached this point because he did not manage to “build a line of consensus based on the country’s great objectives” and execute a . Economic policy that prioritized balancing of fiscal accounts while sacrificing public investment and social programs.
It is the second time Lasso has faced an impeachment process in the assembly: the first was in mid-2021 when lawmakers accused him of internal strife, but following a violent indigenous strike is the minimum required to remove him from office. Failed to get 92 votes. Which practically paralyzed the country for about three weeks.
The closest predecessor is Abdala Bucaram (1996–1997), an Ecuadorian president dismissed by Congress in February 1997, although there was no political trial in his case, instead Congressmen declared him mentally ill to rule without report. was declared incapacitated. of mental illness
Lasso, a 67-year-old former right-wing banker who took office in May 2021 for a four-year term, has faced fierce legislative opposition since the start of his term that has rejected his main government projects and permanently blocked his management. done.