The President of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, announced this Wednesday in a televised announcement that he signed Executive Decree 741 with which will make use of article 148 of the Constitution, also known as the ‘cross death’; This figure allows the current president to dissolve the National Assembly (Ecuadorian legislative body), call legislative and presidential elections, and govern by issuing decrees for six months.
With this decision, Lasso becomes the first president of that country to make use of this article, created during the government of Rafael Correa (2007-2017). But What does ‘cross death’ really mean and what powers does it give the president?.
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Guillermo Lasso uses his ‘ace up his sleeve’
In the midst of a political trial that threatened removal from office, the Ecuadorian president had the mechanism of the so-called “cross death”which involves dissolving Congress to make way for early general elections.
The 67-year-old president justified his decision “to give a constitutional solution” to the country.
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“I have decided to apply article 148 of the constitution of the republic that grants me the power to dissolve the National Assembly due to serious political crisis and internal commotion“said the president on Wednesday.
The conservative president justified his decision as a “democratic” action that appears as a resource of the Constitution of that country, in addition to the fact that, according to him, “it gives back to the people the power to decide their future in the next elections”.
I have signed Executive Decree 741, with the objective of dissolving the National Assembly and requesting the CNE to call elections.
Ecuadorians: this is the best decision to give a constitutional solution to the political crisis and
internal commotion that supports…
— Guillermo Lasso (@LassoGuillermo) May 17, 2023
What is article 148?
In the Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador, article 148 states that “the President of the Republic may dissolve the National Assembly when, in her opinion, it has assumed functions that do not correspond to it constitutionally, prior favorable opinion of the Court Constitutional, or if repeatedly and unjustifiably obstructs the execution of the National Development Plan, or due to a serious political crisis and internal commotion“.
In this case, Guillermo Lasso supported his decision on the grounds of “serious political crisis and internal commotion” in the country. This decision also implies the dissolution of the government and its cabinetSo a new one must be created.
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Likewise, the magna carta expresses that “this power may be exercised only once in the first three years of his mandate.”
This mechanism, despite being constitutional, It is considered by experts as a measure that could lead to a crisis in the country.
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“That’s when there could potentially be a social problema real instability” due to the power struggles and gaps left by that figure, political scientist Esteban Nichols, from the Simón Bolívar Andean University in Quito, told AFP.
The dissolution was implemented by the Correa government (2007-2017) and sit would be the first time it was applied. For constitutionalist Rafael Oyarte, this mechanism would be a “political irresponsibility” that would benefit the left of Correísmo in the case of elections before the hour.
What does it allow you to do?
Within a maximum period of seven days after the publication of the decree of
dissolution, the National Electoral Council (CNE) will convene for the same date
legislative and presidential elections for the rest of the respective
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During his announcement, the president pointed out that had already requested the CNE to call “immediate” elections legislative and presidential
While the elections are being held in the country, and before the installation of the new National Assembly, Guillermo Lasso may, with the prior approval of the Constitutional Court, “issue decree-laws of economic urgency, which may be approved or repealed by the body legislative”; this means that It can only decree in economic matters.
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Lasso has already sent his first decree to the Court for approval: “I have signed the first decree law of economic urgency to reduce taxes, strengthen the economy of 460 thousand Ecuadorian families and that will mean that close to 200 million dollars return to their homes,” declared the president on Wednesday.
Everyone calm down. The leadership of the Armed Forces and the Police Commander say that they will enforce the decree of the cross death signed by President Guillermo Lasso, because it is constitutional. pic.twitter.com/TVkZXuQUmC
– TheHistory (@lahistoriaec) May 17, 2023
Will Lasso be able to run as a candidate?
Although the president summons his citizens to the polls again, this does not mean that the president and the elected Assembly will have a regular term of office. The authorities elected through the elections called under article 148 They will govern until the term of the outgoing president ends, that is to say, the little more than two years that Guillermo Lasso has left.
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In addition, In the event that the President of the Republic is re-electedthe Constitution suggests that said election should be understood as a ratification by the people, of the President’s efforts to finish the period for which he was initially elected and consequently “should not be considered as another period and his re-election would be possible”.
Santiago Andres Venera Salazar
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