Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso on Wednesday, May 17, put an end to impeachment proceedings against him by dissolving the opposition-led National Assembly, which had accused him of embezzlement. The right-wing president, who has denied any wrongdoing, can govern for up to six months by decree under the South American country’s constitution.
The National Electoral Council now has seven days to call presidential and legislative elections, which must be held within 90 days. Those elected will finish the terms of Lasso and the lawmakers he ousted, which had been set to end in May 2025.
In a televised message, Lasso accused the National Assembly of focusing “on destabilizing the government.” He called his move “democratic,” and as a way to give “people the power to decide their future in the next elections.”
Lawmakers had accused Lasso of not having intervened to end a contract between the state-owned oil transport company Flota Petrolera Ecuatoriana and the private entity Amazonas Tankers. The accusers argue that Lasso knew the contract was full of irregularities and would cost the state millions in losses, something that the president rejects as untrue.
Lasso, a former banker, was elected in 2021 and has clashed from the start with a strong opposition in the 137-member National Assembly. He defended himself before Congress on Tuesday, insisting there was no proof or testimony of wrongdoing.