What is the ‘cross death’ decreed by Guillermo Lasso in Ecuador?

Ecuador woke up this Wednesday with a surprising decree issued by its president, the conservative Guillermo Lasso, in which he applied the so-called “cross death”, an extraordinary mechanism that its Constitution contemplates as a way out of a governance crisis.

The so-called “cross death” is provided for in article 148 of the Ecuadorian Magna Carta of 2008, promoted under the presidential mandate of the progressive Rafael Correa (2007-2017) and it is the first time that it has been used since it came into force. this Constitution. This article gives the power to the president to dissolve the National Assembly (Parliament) and at the same time advance the general elections.

In this way, Lasso, who was about to reach the middle of his presidential term for which he was elected in 2021, will sacrifice almost the entire second half of the term in exchange for governing without an Assembly that controlled the left-wing opposition, with the Correísmo as the majority force.

Meanwhile, until the elections are held and the establishment of the new National Assembly, the president can govern through decree laws that must be previously reviewed by the Constitutional Court. According to the same article 148, the head of state can resort to this constitutional tool at any time within the first 3 years of his mandate, out of a total of 4 years, so that from the last year of the presidential term he cannot make use of it.

Police guard the exterior of the National Assembly headquarters in Quito (Ecuador).EFE/ José Jácome

Only under three causes

It can do so only if, “in the opinion” of the president, three specific scenarios occur: a serious political crisis and internal commotion, a repeated and unjustified obstruction of the Assembly to the National Development Plan, or if the Assembly has assumed functions that are not are incumbent on it, after a favorable opinion of the Constitutional Court.

In this case, Lasso has considered that there is a “serious political crisis and internal commotion” as a result of the political trial of censorship undertaken by the opposition against him on charges of an alleged crime of embezzlement (embezzlement), something that the president has described of an unfounded and fabricated accusation.

In his opinion, the president believes that the opposition has sought to remove him from power up to four times in various ways and that the accusation of embezzlement is a pretext without evidence towards that objective.

In the background remains the uncertainty that the Government will achieve enough votes to save the motion of no confidence, for which reason the opposition has rejected the argument used by Lasso to apply the “cross death”.

For the promoters of the impeachment, which are mainly correísmo and the conservative Social Christian Party (PSC), there is no such “serious political crisis and internal commotion” and they considered it illegitimate to apply the “cross death” to avoid a probable dismissal, so who have submitted a claim of unconstitutionality to the Constitutional Court.

Ecuadorian citizens protest against the president of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, outside the Government Palace in Quito.EFE/Santiago Fernandez

Elections to complete the period 2021-2025

Once applied, Article 148 of the Constitution indicates that, “within a maximum period of seven days after the publication of the dissolution decree, the National Electoral Council (CNE) will convene legislative and presidential elections for the rest of the of the respective periods”.

In other words, the newly elected authorities will have a short term of less than 2 years until the end of the 2021-2025 period, when there will be new general elections.

In a press conference, the president of the CNE, Diana Atamaint, indicated that it is a “challenge” to carry out the voting process within the next 90 days, and noted that in the next few hours they will organize an electoral calendar, coordinated with the Electoral Contentious Tribunal (electoral justice body), which must be approved by the plenary session of the CNE.

There is no impediment for Lasso to run for re-election in these elections, but the Minister of Government, Henry Cucalón, indicated that he will soon inform of his decision regarding being a candidate again.

Source: HuffPost Spain for Athena2 by www.huffingtonpost.es.

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