By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
QUITO (Worthy News) – In an unprecedented move, Ecuador’s embattled President Guillermo Lasso disbanded the opposition-led legislature after it tried to oust him on embezzlement charges that he denies.
The conservative leader invoked muerte cruzada (“mutual death”), a constitutional clause never before used, to dissolve the National Assembly and enable snap presidential and parliamentary elections.
Security forces were seen outside the parliament building as the legislators were send packing.
The National Assembly, the country’s parliament, had tried to impeach Lasso, president since 2021.
Legislators accused him of interfering in contract negotiations between a state-run shipping company and an oil tanker company.
The National Assembly’s oversight committee had conducted a report that did not recommend impeachment for Lasso or his removal, but lawmakers voted on May 9 to continue the impeachment process anyway.
Those procedures prompted Lasso to disband parliament, saying the contract was signed before he took office.
“The prosecutors of this trial have acknowledged that they have nothing,” Lasso said earlier on Tuesday during the impeachment proceeding. “This inquiry is political.”
Yet the frictions mark a moment of extraordinary political turbulence for the South American nation of 18 million already in turmoil.
Ecuador was previously seen as a relative haven of hope and stability in the often troubled region.
But in recent years, it has seen rapidly rising violence and a skyrocketing homicide rate as increasingly powerful drug trafficking groups fight for territory in the heavily Catholic country.
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