Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso is facing impeachment and has threatened to dissolve the legislature.
LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández
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Leer en español: Ecuador: al borde de un caos similar a Perú
Ecuador's President Guillermo Lasso faces the possibility of a trial that could end in political chaos similar to that of his southern neighbor. The president is accused of embezzlement, and the assembly is preparing an impeachment that could end with the president's departure.
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In recent days, the opposition assembly members have presented their evidence and witnesses. From today, Wednesday, it will be the ruler himself and his team who present their defense. In principle, Lasso will not be required in this instance and his lawyer, Édgar Neira, may be the one who processes the defense. Subsequently, the Oversight Commission will be in charge of making a report based on the evidence presented.
Why Are They Seeking to Remove Guillermo Lasso?
The Ecuadorian president is accused of embezzlement for having maintained a public contract between the public oil transportation company (Flopec) and the Amazonas Tanker Pool company. According to the congressmen who seek to submit Lasso to a vote to remove him from office, the president knew of irregularities within Flopec and did not act on the case.
This fact has also generated a parallel investigation by the Prosecutor's Office. The Ecuadorian prosecution body opened the case when the La Posta portal revealed audios between senior company officials and that dotted Guillermo Lasso's brother-in-law.
In his defense, the president and his team insist that the signing of the contract occurred in past administrations, since 2018, during the administration of Lenin Moreno. On March 30, the Constitutional Court of Ecuador determined that impeachment for embezzlement was possible. However, in turn, it dismissed two other accusations for crimes of concussion.
A Déjà vu with Peru
Peru has been in a political and institutional crisis for more than 4 months after President Pedro Castillo was removed from office by the Peruvian congress. This happened after he himself tried to dissolve the congress. However, the institutional crisis had been going on for a long time, when Castillo himself was surviving several attempts at political trials.
Despite the similarities between the two political trials and the threats to call new elections, there are also differences between the two processes. Firstly, Ecuador is not going through the deep institutional crisis that occurs in Peru. The instability of the last rulers presents an almost impossible scenario for a president in Peru to fulfill his constitutional term, while in Ecuador, not long ago, there was a democratic transition between Lenin Moreno and Guillermo Lasso. In turn, Moreno received the post from his former political leader and now enemy, Rafael Correa.
In the event that the Assembly votes in favor and Lasso complies with his warning to dissolve the legislature, the Latin American community should know if they take the same position as they did in Peru. Those who are against the removal and capture of Pedro Castillo should take a position with Lasso and vice versa.
What Is Needed for the Impeachment Trial to Come to a “Successful Port”?
After the Ecuadorian Constitutional Court gave free rein to a political trial for embezzlement, legislators have 45 days to carry out the process. Now the arguments were presented and later there must be a plenary vote.
To remove a president, two-thirds of the House is required, which means 92 votes in favor. At this time, the main opposition parties: Movimiento Revolución Ciudadana (47) and the Partido Socialista Cristiano (15) have 62 votes, giving a simple majority. However, they will be able to seek the votes of the Movimiento de Unidad Plurinacional Pachakutik (24) and the Izquierda Democrática (15), which, despite having agreements with the Lasso government, have progressive ideology. To achieve all the support, they would add the necessary votes. However, the Lasso government will still have to maintain the support of at least 10 opposition legislators.