May 17, 2023 - World

Ecuador President Lasso dissolves Congress amid impeachment proceedings

Ecuadorian president Guillermo Lasso speaks in front of two microphones during an impeachment hearing against him

President of Ecuador Guillermo Lasso speaks during the impeachment trial at National Assembly on Tuesday in Quito, Ecuador. Photo: Cristina Vega/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

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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