Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso dissolved the National Assembly by decree on May 17 bringing forward legislative and presidential elections and heading off an attempt by opposition politicians to impeach him.
Opposition politicians wanted to impeach Lasso over accusations he disregarded warnings of embezzlement related to a contract at state-owned oil transportation company Flopec, charges the president denies.
A majority of lawmakers had backed a resolution accusing Lasso of allowing the corrupt contract to continue after taking office in 2021, although a congressional oversight committee, which heard testimony from opposition lawmakers, officials, and Lasso’s lawyer, said in its report it did not recommend impeachment.
Lasso says the impeachment process – the first against an Ecuadorian president in decades – is politically motivated and has sparked a grave crisis that has threatened democracy. The dissolution was necessary, he said.
Citing the crisis and inability to govern, Lasso invoked the constitution’s so-called “two-way death” (Muerte Cruzada) provision, which allows the president to call elections for both his post and the assembly under certain circumstances, including if actions by the legislature are blocking the functioning of government.
According to the constitution, he will now remain in office and rule by decree.
Author and Journalist Joe Emersberger. You can find his work published at CounterPunch, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), MintPressNews and more. Also, be sure to read his book Extraordinary Threat: The US Empire, the Media and Twenty Years of Coup Attempts in Venezuela. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
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