President Lasso will undergo impeachment

Guillermo Lasso

With six votes in favor, the Plenary of the Constitutional Court of Ecuador admitted the request for impeachment against the president, Guillermo Lasso, for the alleged crime of embezzlement. With the endorsement of the body, the National Assembly begins the process of prosecuting the president, which could lead to possible dismissal. In a statement, the Court explains that in the process followed up to now in the National Assembly, “the principles of political legitimacy and due process have been respected.”

In the ruling, the majority of the judges decided not to admit the two accusations about the alleged crime of extortion and to give way only to that of embezzlement. The Court explained that for the opinion they carried out an analysis of both the procedure and the content of the request, “to guarantee the balance of powers between the executive and legislative functions”, although it calls the attention of the applicants and the National Assembly for “the lack of prolixity in the activation of the said constitutional figure”.

The majority of legislators from the UNES party, Social Cristiano and Izquierda Democrática, accuse him of being politically responsible for a corruption scheme in public companies. In addition, to use his position as president to protect some of those involved, including his brother-in-law Danilo Carrera. President Lasso has denied such assertions and has branded the intention of the Assembly to remove him for the second time as “a parliamentary coup d’état”, as he said at the Ibero-American Summit held in Santo Domingo.

The block of legislators from the ruling party has announced that President Lasso will defend himself in court, which suggests that the president would not activate the so-called cross death; that is, dissolve the Assembly. The Ecuadorian Constitution grants that possibility to the president at any time within the first three years of government, and he can do so for three causes. The first is that the Assembly has assumed powers that do not correspond to it; the second is due to a serious crisis or internal commotion; and the third is the obstruction of the development plan proposed by the president. Only in the first case, it is necessary to consult the Constitutional Court. If the president invokes the cross death he will not be able to finish his school term until 2025,

With the decision of the High Court, the document will return to the National Assembly, up to the inspection commission, which must hear the evidence supporting the alleged infringement within a maximum period of 45 days and where the president may present the exculpatory evidence. To censure and dismiss the president, 92 votes of the 137 assembly members are required.