Lasso, between impeachment of the National Assembly or implementation of the ‘Death Crusader’

First modification:

When 13 days of protests led by indigenous people in Ecuador are completed in rejection of the high cost of living and the economic policies of President Guillermo Lasso, a group of opposition deputies is preparing to activate an impeachment mechanism that will be discussed on the afternoon of Saturday in the National Assembly. Previously, the president denounced a coup attempt, while the death of at least six people was confirmed in the streets.

This weekend the President of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, faces in Parliament a request for impeachment presented under the cause of “serious political crisis and internal commotion” by 46 legislators from the Union for Hope (UNES) caucus, loyal to to former President Rafael Correa. The move is covered by article 130 of the country’s Constitution.

This mechanism obliges the National Assembly to discuss the matter within 24 hours of the activation being introduced. During the session, scheduled for this afternoon, the president will have the opportunity to declare his defense arguments and, once the debate is over, the parliamentarians will have 72 hours to make a decision.

To achieve the removal of the president, it is necessary that 92 of the 137 legislators present in parliament vote in favor, that is, two thirds of the chamber. Currently, the president only has the support of 27 fixed seats, so the decision remains at the disposal of the Pachakutik indigenous movement, which promotes the protests that began almost two weeks ago, and the Christian Social Party, which initially supported Lasso. but that over time he began to express his discontent by assuring that the president has done nothing to solve the problems of the communities that are manifesting today.

Indigenous people demonstrate in the streets of Quito.
Indigenous people demonstrate in the streets of Quito. REUTERS – ADRIANO MACHADO

National Assembly or ‘Crusader Death’

The president has two options: submit to the decision of the National Assembly or present the mechanism known as ‘Death Crusade’, appealing to article 148 of the Constitution, an unpublished text in the constitutions of Latin America and which empowers the president to dissolve the National Assembly only once during the framework of his first three years of government, also alleging “serious political crisis and internal commotion.”

In that case, the National Electoral Council must call new legislative and presidential elections within a maximum period of seven days, where the 137 assembly members and a presidential binomial will be ratified or not.

In such a case, during the months of waiting for the elections, the president would continue in office and could dictate, with the approval of the Constitutional Court, decrees or laws that he considers necessary.

Lasso denounces coup

Prior to the activation of the impeachment mechanism, President Lasso had already been denouncing an attempted coup through national television and social networks, making a “call to the international community to warn of this attempt to destabilize democracy in the Ecuador” and accusing the president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie), Leonidas Iza, of seeking “the overthrow of the Government”, who a few hours earlier had raised the possibility of introducing the appeal to revoke the national president.

“This makes it clear to us that he never wanted to resolve an agenda for the benefit of indigenous peoples and nationalities. The only thing he was looking for was to deceive his base and usurp the legally constituted government, ”said the president in his speech. He also announced that from that moment the security forces would begin to have a more forceful action.

Lasso regretted that Iza’s statements were made after the government reached some agreements such as the forgiveness of overdue debts for peasant families, the reduction of interest rates and the increase from 50 to 55 dollars of a bond for vulnerable households, In addition, the indigenous movement was allowed to establish a “popular assembly” in the House of Culture in Quito, from where the protesters were evicted after the declarations, once again turning the protests into a pitched battle.

Leonidas Iza, president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie), addresses the popular assembly.
Leonidas Iza, president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie), addresses the popular assembly. REUTERS – KAREN TORO

indefinite unemployment

For its part, the indigenous movement alleges that the ten points of the list of demands have not been fully addressed and that many have been left out, such as reducing and freezing fuel prices, not increasing oil and mining activity in the Amazon, control the prices of basic necessities and stop the privatization of state companies.

Leonidas Iza announced that the protests and the strike will continue indefinitely, although he denied that the intention was to overthrow the president, but declared that if he had not had the capacity to solve the problems it was better for him to leave and rejected that the security forces They were evicted from the House of Culture where, according to the leader, they were about to approve “a peace process” with the government.

“Instead of receiving the results, we have received absolutely violent attacks by the Armed Forces and the National Police,” Iza said.

More than 14,000 indigenous people are mobilized throughout the country, mostly in the Ecuadorian capital where the clashes have so far left at least six dead and more than 180 wounded between soldiers and police, according to the authorities.

With information from Reuters, EFE, AFP and AP

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Written by Editor TLN

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