Guillermo Lasso rules by decree and Ecuador is preparing for unprecedented and tense elections

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One day after the “shock” caused by the “cross death” Decreed by President Guillermo Lasso when he was on the verge of being sacked, Ecuador has begun forecasting unprecedented and extraordinary general elections that could be held in August.

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With Lasso’s decision to appeal to a “serious political crisis” and resort to that constitutional mechanism of “crossed death”, which provides for the dissolution of the National Assembly (Parliament) and the holding of new general elections, the Andean country will have three electoral processes to elect the president and assembly members within four years.

After the 2021 elections, when the Presidency remained in the hands of the conservative Lasso and the Assembly was controlled by a left-wing opposition, there will now be extraordinary elections whose authorities will be elected to complete the three-year period 2021-2025. That year Ecuadorians will return to the polls.

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Since the 2008 Constitution, promoted by the former center-left president Rafael Correa (2007-2017), came into force, the figure of the “crossed death” had never been used, so it will be first time in these 15 years that this extraordinary general election will take place in the middle of a period.

The front pages of some Ecuadorian newspapers, this Thursday, in a kiosk in Quito.  Photo: EFE

The front pages of some Ecuadorian newspapers, this Thursday, in a kiosk in Quito. Photo: EFE

protests

The imminence of the electoral process immediately focused political formations on preparing the council for that appointment. This is why the country has woken up in recent days with relative calm in the streets, despite some protests against the Lasso decree and the extraordinary arrest of the police and military in front of the Government Palace in Quito.

The left and center-left groups in conflict with the president are putting together their electoral strategy and analysts are not ruling out a tense scenario with street demonstrations.

Lasso, a former banker who came to power after two failed attempts, made the decision after seeing that the opposition’s censorship impeachment trial against him could win.

Rather than being dismissed by an opposition Parliament on charges of an alleged crime of embezzlement (embezzlement) which he has always rejected and defined as unfounded, Lasso preferred to shorten his mandate by almost half and, even if only for a few months, regulated by decree-law in urgent economic matters that must pass the control of the Constitutional Court.

The voices raised on Wednesday to denounce the use of “crossed death” as unconstitutional in the context of a probable dismissal by the Assembly were challenged with the ruling of the Constitutional Court, which Thursday afternoon rejected the six motions of unconstitutionality en bloc presented.

A vendor in Quito, in front of the police barriers blocking traffic in the center of the Ecuadorian capital.  Photo: AFP

A vendor in Quito, in front of the police barriers blocking traffic in the center of the Ecuadorian capital. Photo: AFP

The court validated the application of the “crossed death” arguing that neither this court nor any other judicial authority has the competence to decide whether there is a “serious political crisis and internal unrest”, a scenario that the Constitution leaves to the sole discretion of the head of state…

The election calendar

For now, the National Electoral Council (CNE) has until May 24 to call extraordinary general elections, although its president, Diana Atamaint, tentatively anticipated this Thursday the program that this process could have.

the first round could be held on 20 August and the second round, if necessary, on October 15, so the new president will take office around November, Atamaint said in a preliminary way before finalizing the calendar, which could also shorten the election campaign from 45 to 15 days.

Another aspect still to be clarified is which candidates will contest these elections for the Presidency, above all if we take into account that the winner will have to serve a term of less than two years, in the midst of an insecurity crisis led by drug trafficking and organized crime…

Security forces in front of the presidential palace of Carondelet, in Quito, this Thursday.  Photo: AFP

Security forces in front of the presidential palace of Carondelet, in Quito, this Thursday. Photo: AFP

Yes, OK Lasso has an option to run for re-election, It has not yet pronounced itself on the matter, while in the rest of the opposition political forces there are no leaders or profiles who have firmly demonstrated the willingness to launch themselves to take over the reins of the country.

In an interview with EFE in Washington, former Correísmo candidate Andrés Arauz, who lost in 2021 against Lasso, assured this Thursday that it is not his “personal priority” to repeat himself as a candidate, this time under the Citizen brand Revolution (RC), the party led by Correa.

Arauz deemed it necessary for these new elections form a grand coalition defined as a “historic bloc” which houses the various social movements, including the indigenous movement (Pachakutik), unlike what happened two years ago.

Meanwhile, Yaku Pérez, who was on the verge of going to the second round in place of Arauz in 2021, also did not anticipate his intentions for these elections, as well as emphasizing that it is time for “national reconciliation”.

Meanwhile, the Lasso government hopes to be able to implement as many decrees on urgent economic issues, some of which have failed to pass the Assembly, which controlled the opposition, with correísmo as the first force.

After sending the decree law of the new tax reform, which raises the expense deductions to reduce the Irpef, to the Constitutional Court for analysis on Wednesday, the Executive also plans to send the decree for the creation of free zones for the study, as anticipated by the Minister of the Government, Henry Cucalón.

Source: EFE

Source: Clarin

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