Ecuador awoke this Wednesday to a surprise decree issued by its president, the conservative Guillermo Lasso, in which he invoked the so-called “cross death”, an extraordinary mechanism that its constitutional regime regards as a way out of crisis.
The so-called “cross death” is provided for in Article 148 of the Ecuadorian Magna Carta of 2008, promoted under the presidential mandate of the progressive Rafael Correa (2007–2017) and is the first time that it has been used since Has gone. came into force This constitution.
This article gives the President the power to dissolve the National Assembly (Parliament) as well as to call for general elections.
Thus, lasso who was about to reach the middle of his presidency, to which he was elected in 2021, would give up almost the entire second half of his term in exchange for governing without a legislature controlled by the left-wing opposition as a majority. Strength.
In the meantime, until elections are held and a new National Assembly established, the president can rule through decree laws, which must first be reviewed by the Constitutional Court.
According to the same Article 148, the head of state can resort to this constitutional instrument at any time within the first 3 years of his term, out of a total of 4 years, so that you can use it from the last year of the presidential term.
Only for three reasons
It can do so only if, in the opinion of the President, three specific scenarios arise: a serious political crisis and internal commotion, repeated and unwarranted obstruction of the Assembly to the national development plan, or if the Assembly has assumed such functions. He has done things that are not his responsibility. , Prior favorable opinion of the Constitutional Court.
In this case, Lasso has acknowledged that there is a serious political crisis and internal turmoil as a result of an impeachment trial of censorship conducted against him by the opposition on charges of an alleged crime of embezzlement (embezzlement), something that the President has described as a as baseless and fabricated allegations.
In his opinion, the president believes that the opposition has sought to remove him from power by various means four times and that the allegation of embezzlement is a pretext without evidence towards that purpose.
In the background, there remains uncertainty that the government will secure enough votes to save a motion of no confidence, which is why the opposition has rejected the argument used by Lasso to implement “cross death”.
For the promoters of the impeachment, which are mainly Correismo and the conservative Social Christian Party (PSC), there is no such serious political crisis and internal commotion and they consider it illegitimate to apply the “cross death” to avoid possible dismissal. He has presented a claim of unconstitutionality in the Constitutional Court.
Election to serve the term 2021-2025
Once in force, Article 148 of the Constitution indicates that, within a maximum period of seven days from the publication of the dissolution decree, the National Electoral Council (CNE) shall call for legislative and presidential elections on the same dates for the respective remainders. Duration.
In other words, the newly elected officials will have a short term of less than 2 years until the end of the 2021-2025 period, when new general elections will be held.
In a press conference, the president of the CNE, Diana Attamant, indicated that it was a challenge to complete the voting process within the next 90 days, and noted that in the next few hours they would organize an election calendar, coordinated with . Controversial Court Electoral, which must be approved by a full session of the CNE.
There is no bar for Lasso to contest re-election in these elections, but the government minister, Henri Cucklon, indicated that he would soon report his decision about whether to be a candidate again.