Ecuador’s embattled President Guillermo Lasso, who is facing a looming impeachment vote, has triggered a constitutional clause to dissolve government, a politically fraught move that could spark protests with the country already tackling a fragile security situation.
The Ecuadorian leader invoked a procedure known as “mutual death,” whereby the opposition-led National Assembly is dissolved and snap elections will be called, according to a decree published on the website of the presidency.
Lasso, who took office in 2021, is accused of interfering in the negotiation of a shipping contract related to the export of oil products. He has denied all allegations and claims they are politically motivated.
Lasso said his order for snap elections was the “best decision to pave the way for hope.”
“This is a new moment for optimism. Let’s build a better future for Ecuador,” he told the nation in an address on Wednesday.
He argued his decision was the way to stop political confrontation in the country, adding that the crisis cost Ecuador millions of dollars.
“This is a democratic decision not only because it’s constitutional, but also it allows you to decide on your future,” Lasso said.
On Sunday, opposition lawmaker Virgilio Saquicela was re-elected as president of the Assembly with 96 votes while Lasso’s coalition holds 25 seats in the legislative chamber, a scenario that could give the opposition a chance to get enough votes to approve the impeachment.