The final phase of Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso’s political trial began on Tuesday without it being clear whether the Assembly (parliament) will manage to gather the votes needed to remove him or whether the president will use a constitutional remedy to dissolve the Legislative.
The session n.872 of this Tuesday dismissed with 109 of 137 the legislators were present, according to the convocation made on Sunday.
The trial began at the end of March and has since progressed to several instances of the Assembly, where it has Lasso minimal support and finds himself cornered by a fierce opposition led by former President Rafael Correa’s Union for Hope party (2007-2017).
Lawmakers accuse the president of embezzlement of public fundswhich was denied by Lasso and the opposition was unable to testdespite which the process was maintained and should be concluded next weekend when the members of the assembly vote the motion of censure and revocation.
Who is Guillermo Lasso?
Guillermo Lasso is a 67-year-old former bankerwho won the presidency in Ecuador in 2021, in his third attempt, with a proposal to achieve economic growth with social justice, in a country that had been hit by the financial crisis aggravated by the covid-19 pandemic.
Leader of the center-right Create Opportunity (CREO) movement, he argued in the campaign that the left-right schemes “have lost their validity globally”, but it came to elections allied with the right-wing Christian Social Party.
Born in Guayaquil within a middle class familythis Banco de Guayaquil shareholder says he understands the anguish of poverty because he suffered poverty even in his youth, when he had to work to support his parents and pay for his studies.
What awaits the president this week?
The Assembly started this Tuesday at 10 (12:00 in Argentina) the session for the final stretch of the trial against Lasso, which was to arrive in the Legislature shortly after, around noon local time accompanied by his cabinet and other state authorities.
In this session the accusers They have two hours to present evidence. against the president and then the president will have the same term present exculpatory evidence. Then both parties will have one hour for any reruns.
After each of the 137 members of the assembly will be able to take the floor for 10 minutes and then there will be a break. The last session in which Lasso’s fate will be decided should take place over the weekend.
What is Lasso accused of?
He is accused of did not intervene prevent or denounce a structure of corruption in the contract for the transport of crude oil abroad between the state company Flota Petrolera Ecuatoriana and the company Amazonas Tankers, which would have involved a millionaire damage to the State.
The members of the assembly assure that Lasso did not object to the contract nor the firing of an official who had recommended ending the trade deal.
The government has indicated that there is no evidence of economic damage caused and the comptroller’s office has found no evidence of the prosecution. There are no criminal cases in relation to the topic.
How are forces distributed in the Assembly?
A solid majority of the intact legislature a coalition of left-wing parties such as Union for Hope, right-wing Christian Social Party, indigenous Pachakutik political force, and various independent lawmakers.
How many votes does it take to remove it?
The law provides that at least two thirds of the 137 members of the assembly are, i.e., at least 92 votes.
Is there any way to prevent the process?
NO, the process cannot be suspended but the president could activate a constitutional remedy that authorizes him to do so dissolve the Assembly without the permission of any state agency.
This would allow you to rule by decree for up to six months under the control of the Constitutional Court and in parallel call elections presidential and legislative
Can you be fired if you have a previous criminal conviction?
Yes, the impeachment is carried out separately of any criminal proceeding or investigation. President Lasso faces impeachment for the alleged crime of embezzlement, whose criminal proceedings it is still under research anticipated by the prosecutor. The president has not been charged or indicted by criminal prosecution.
If he is removed, who succeeds him?
According to the constitution, he would assume the presidency Vice President Alfredo Borrero67 years old and a doctor by profession, who came to elected power together with Lasso.
Can Lasso do anything to prevent his dismissal?
If at any time can activate the dissolution of the AssemblyAlso known as cross death, which is a constitutional attribution that does not require the approval of another state agency.
This will allow him to govern by decree for up to six months, with the approval of the Constitutional Court, in the meantime presidential and legislative elections will have to be called.
Is this the first time his dismissal has been asked?
Not this it’s the second time. The first was in June 2022 when the opposition failed to achieve its goal by garnering 88 votes to remove Lasso. On that occasion, the president was accused of having prevented the country from facing serious internal unrest caused by an indigenous strike demanding a reduction in the price of fuel.
The indigenous people have paralyzed the country for almost three weeks They blocked roads and prevented daily activity in major cities. Unemployment caused the country $1.2 billion in losses800 million corresponding to the private sector.
Mary Ortiz is a seasoned journalist with a passion for world events. As a writer for News Rebeat, she brings a fresh perspective to the latest global happenings and provides in-depth coverage that offers a deeper understanding of the world around us.