President of Ecuador Guillermo Lasso dissolved Ecuador’s National Assembly and called for new elections Wednesday just one day after his impeachment trial began. Lasso will also rule by decree for economic matters, subject to oversight by the Ecuadorian Constitutional Court, until the upcoming legislative and presidential elections.
The General Secretariat for Presidential Communications says that Lasso dissolved the legislature under Article 148 of the Ecuadorian Constitution, which states: “The President of the Republic will be able to dissolve the National Assembly… because of a severe political crisis and domestic unrest.”
Lasso’s office claims that his actions are “democratic” and “constitutional” because “it returns to the Ecuadorian people the power to decide their future in the next elections.”
However, the opposition party Unión por la Esperanza (UNES) said “This desperate and unconstitutional action is a strategy of a dismissed government that seeks to evade the vote to oust it, without caring about the people.” Former Ecuadorian President and leader of UNES Rafael Correa tweeted “What Lasso is doing is illegal…. He just couldn’t buy enough assemblymen to save himself. In any case, it is a GREAT opportunity to get rid of Lasso, his Government, and his rented assembly members, and recover the Homeland.”
The Ecuadorian military and the National Police announced their support for Ecuador’s constitution and pledged to uphold Lasso’s decision in the hours since his announcement. Lawmakers reported that the military surrounded the National Assembly buildings after the legislature was dissolved.
Lasso’s impeachment trial on charges of corruption began Tuesday. He stands accused of maintaining unprofitable oil contracts to benefit “third parties,” but he and his supporters deny the charges, saying that the National Assembly created a “fictitious situation.” Lasso previously pledged in April to dissolve the National Assembly if he were impeached. The president was also subjected to an impeachment vote in 2022, but it was defeated.
Ecuador’s National Electoral Council is mandated to announce new elections within the next seven days, which will be held in the next three months.