Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso faces impeachment that could lead to his removal.

For the political trial promoted in the Ecuadorian Congress to result in the dismissal of the President Guillermo Lasso at least 92 out of 137 votes are required. In an interview with Andrés Oppenheimer, the Ecuadorian president assured that opponents do not have the votes to dismiss him. According to the deadlines set by law, it is planned that between the first and second week of May the session of interrogation, defense, debate and vote on the impeachment that put Lasso on the ropes will be held.

They don’t have them now (to the votes)“Lasso said in the conversation where he assured that it was another of four attempts to remove him in less than two years of management. The president took office on May 24, 2021 and had a successful covid vaccination plan that elevated him with over 70% popularity. However, once the vaccination was over, the prison crisis, the high levels of violence and crime, the bombings, cabinet changes and the zero building of bridges between the executive and the legislature They left him with an acceptance that doesn’t even reach 20%.

Lasso has described himself as an uncomfortable politician for his opponents. Furthermore, he argued that the violence experienced in prisons and on the streets of the country is a response to the blows his administration has dealt to the drug trade: “They want to see me because I’m uncomfortable for many of themnot for everyone, because of my government’s frontal fight against drug trafficking and also against different groups accustomed to co-opting the state and committing acts of corruption,” he said.

For Lasso to be dismissed, the opposition needs 92 votes.  (REUTERS/Karen Toro)
For Lasso to be dismissed, the opposition needs 92 votes. (REUTERS/Karen Toro)

The Ecuadorian president has not ruled out decreeing the early dissolution of representative powers, known in Ecuador as “death cross”. This constitutional mechanism allows the Head of State to dissolve Congress and call early elections. While the new elections are being prepared, the president rules by decree-law. Cross-death can also be activated by the National Assembly under three grounds provided for by the Constitution. In June 2022, during the protests that paralyzed the country for 18 days, Congress tried to use this resource, but the necessary votes did not take place.

Lasso assured that he had not decreed the cross death”because stability is what allows us to bring down inflation, economic growth, job creation”. Added to this is the fear of the president vis-à-vis the international community, which could interpret the dissolution of the congress as the installation of a dictatorial regime.

According to the president, 75% of Ecuadorians do not want political destabilization. However, a recent opinion poll by Click Report reported that 38% of respondents agree that Lasso is fulfilling his mandate, while 18% would prefer the Assembly to remove him. In contrast, 28% think cross-death is an option the president should take.

The crude oil transport contract between the Ecuadorian oil fleet and Amazonas Tanker is the central argument of the political trial.
The crude oil transport contract between the Ecuadorian oil fleet and Amazonas Tanker is the central argument of the political trial.

The political trial promoted by the opposition, which complies with the regulatory authorities of Congress, now with the presentation of evidence and the summoning of witnesses, aims to declare Lasso politically guilty of embezzlement. The promoters’ argument is based on a contract signed between Amazonas tank truck and the Ecuadorian oil fleet. Although the contract was signed in 2020, when Lasso had not yet taken office, the opposition claims that the president had to act against a contract that harms the country.

“I have to defend myself, defend my honor. I have not committed embezzlement, I must tell all the members of the Assembly and after that I will take the decision that I consider most appropriate for Ecuador because we have to look for stability,” Lasso said. In addition, for the president, Ecuador has two scenarios: “a populist and totalitarian scenario that Ecuadorians already know from 2007 to 2017 (when Rafael Correa governed) and a model that represents my government, which is a democratic model, liberal and humanist and that is what is happening”.

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