Ecuador President Lasso dissolves Congress amid impeachment proceedings
Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso dissolved Congress on Wednesday as he faced the final phase of impeachment proceedings.
Driving the news: Lasso is accused of embezzlement, which he strongly denies.
- He called for elections to take place in seven days.
- "This is a democratic decision, not only because it is constitutional, but because it returns the power to the Ecuadorian people ... to decide their future in the next elections," Lasso said in a video broadcast, per Reuters.
Background: Lasso in May 2021 became Ecuador's first conservative president in two decades.
- He was applauded for his successful COVID-19 vaccine rollout but criticized for rising crime rates, inflation and protests initiated by Indigenous groups over environmental protections.
State of play: The opposition-led Assembly began the impeachment process, which required constitutional court approval, in March.
- Lasso on Tuesday said there was no evidence of wrongdoing.
- Ecuador's constitution allows the president to dissolve Congress in certain situations. Lasso cited a "grave political crisis" for his decision.
What they're saying: Leonidas Iza Salazar, president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), said in a statement on Twitter that Lasso's move was "cowardly" and without the support of the people, adding that he has become "a dictator."
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