Ecuador is once again at risk of powerlessness, where right-wing President Guillermo Lasso on Wednesday dissolved a Congress dominated by the left-wing opposition, preparing to oust him for alleged corruption. and it plunged the country into a new phase of instability in which Latin America
“This marks a scenario of greater and deeper political instability,” political scientist Paulina Recalde told AFP after the decree signed on Wednesday by Lasso to invoke this constitutional power, which will cover the 2021-2025 period. There will be early general elections to meet the deadline. Most likely they will be on 20 August.
Given this situation, here are five keys to understanding what is happening in Ecuador and what the outcome of everything could be.
How did this come about?
Before his dismissal was voted on in a political trial for corruption that began on Tuesday, Lasso – accused of alleged embezzlement in oil transport contracts – dissolved the National Assembly on the grounds of a “serious political crisis and internal turmoil”.
The 67-year-old president thus put his term at stake, according to private polling firm Perfiles de Opinion directed by Recalde, which came into May 2021 with a credibility of 70%, standing at 10% two years later. ,
Is it the return of Korea?
Faced with the fracturing of the right wing represented by the lasso, analysts predict the early elections will be a major opportunity for the left to gain ground.
In particular for the movement led by former President Rafael Correa (2007–2017), Revolución Ciudadana, and Pachacutic, the political arm of indigenous peoples, the two main forces in the legislation, although without a majority.
Of the 137 seats, Koraismo held 49 and Pachacutic 24, while the ruling party barely managed a dozen. In any case, Correa is punished in Ecuador and if he returns to the country, he faces arrest.
Can the President repeat?
Lasso, who won the presidency by defeating Correismo in his third attempt, can be a candidate again, as the constitution allows for only one re-election.
According to Recalde, Lasso lacks popular support because “9 out of 10 Ecuadorians do not trust him” and he has been accused of corruption.
Correa, who won the 2007, 2009 and 2013 elections, was prevented from being a candidate by former President Lenin Moreno (2017–2021) with the amendment of the Magna Carta, which ended the indefinite re-election promoted by his predecessor. Had given.
In addition, the former president, exiled in Belgium since leaving power, has a prison order issued by the Ecuadorian Justice, which in 2020 sentenced him to 8 years in prison for bribery, a crime that is not prescribed in Ecuador .
All problems together
But politics is not the only entanglement. Ecuador faces problems of insecurity linked to drug trafficking, mistrust in state institutions, and a bleak economic outlook.
Ecuador suffered the worst period of democratic instability in its history between 1996 and 2007, when it had 7 leaders until Correa won last year.
Three rulers elected in elections were overthrown amid rebellions by indigenous peoples and other regions, with the intervention of parliament in one way or another, which, for example, declared Abdala Bukaram mentally incompetent – subject to medical verification. To Rule Without – 1997.
And the army?
The so-called Popular Front, which brings together groups of workers, teachers, farmers, students and women, called for protests against Lasso, who can now rule by issuing decree-laws of economic urgency, but the Constitutional Court with a favorable verdict.
Its leader Nelson Erazo said, “The streets will be the platform in which we will defend rights and freedoms.”
The armed forces and the police expressed that the dissolution of the Congress is enshrined in the Magna Carta and that they are sure that “the country will not accept any attempt to change the constitutional order through violence to attack democracy.”
They said they would act “resolutely” to defend rights and urged unity “to maintain an atmosphere of respect for the law, without confrontation, without violence.”