The “cross death”, a shortcut of Ecuadorian democracy, “soft” and constitutional

By Fernando Arroyo Leon |

Quito (BLAZETRENDS).- The Ecuadorian president, the conservative Guillermo Lasso, applied last Wednesday the “cross death”, a constitutional mechanism that was “soft” to overcome a political crisis that did not generate a social commotion as feared.

The unprecedented measure allowed Lasso to dissolve Parliament, call early elections and rule by decree until replaced by his successor.

All this, surprisingly, without a single disturbance and with the acceptance of a broad political and social opposition to his administration, which is days away from completing two of the four years for which he was elected in 2021.

The negative revelation of what happened in Peru

Police guard the exteriors of the National Assembly (Parliament) headquarters. BLAZETRENDS/Jose Jacome

For several analysts, the situation in Ecuador differs greatly from what was registered in Peru at the time, when a political crisis led to the dismissal of former President Pedro Castillo by Parliament, which appointed Dina Boluarte in his place, in the midst of a wave of social protests harshly repressed by police and military.

In Ecuador, which seems to be the negative revelation of what happened in Peru, threats of protest have hardly been announced if President Lasso were to use a decree to apply neoliberal reforms.

The president, who with the “cross death” also cut his mandate, managed with this measure to avoid a political trial against him in the National Assembly (Parliament), where the opposition had a wide possibility of censoring him on the accusation of embezzlement (embezzlement). of public funds) in a State company.

Guarantee democracy, legal certainty

The President of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, in a file image. BLAZETRENDS/ José Jácome

Its Minister of the Interior, Henry Cucalón, has been clear in stating that the decision made by Lasso made it possible to “guarantee democracy, legal security” and avoided the “hard moments” due to constant tension with the Legislature, which had an opposition majority.

Cucalón considered that the measure also deflated a political crisis at a time when the State was coming face to face with delinquency and crime, which have worsened in the last two years.

For political analyst Ramiro Aguilar, the application of the mechanism provided for in Article 148 of the Ecuadorian Constitution turned out to be a “soft” alternative that saved President Lasso from censorship.

Decrees on economic matters

General view during the installation of a parliamentary session in Quito (Ecuador). BLAZETRENDS/ José Jácome

The fact that the application of this mechanism, endorsed by the Constitutional Court, has not generated a reaction in the streets means that the people accepted this exit as a form of punishment, both for Lasso and for the discredited National Assembly, whose social acceptance It touched the critical levels of the Executive.

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Without the acting Legislative Assembly, Lasso will only be able to issue decrees on economic matters considered urgent, which will be submitted to the opinion of the Constitutional Court.

In addition, for Aguilar, the fact that people trust in going to early elections suggests that the people have preferred to accept that Lasso cut his term and not give way to the two-year succession of Vice President Alfredo Borrero, who would have been appointed after the eventual removal of the president.

The “cross death” focuses the political debate

The advancement of the elections also opens the opportunity for progressivism to resurface, Aguilar said, considering that he will have a good opportunity to repeat the “correísmo”, the movement related to former president Rafael Correa (2007-17), which appears as a strong tendency for future elections.

For Professor Pablo Dávalos, the situation opened by the “cross death” focuses the political debate on the discussion of candidates and the options they would have to fill the vacancies generated by the measure.

The president of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, intervenes during a political trial of censorship against him, at the headquarters of the National Assembly, in Quito (Ecuador).  BLAZETRENDS/Jose Jacome
Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso intervenes during a censorship impeachment trial against him. BLAZETRENDS/Jose Jacome

And it is that the Government and the Legislative Assembly that arise from the next early elections will only have life until May 2025, when the Lasso administration should end.

The new government “will barely last a little over a year” and will not have “greater room for maneuver to change what Lasso built during his term,” said Dávalos, pointing out that with the “cross death” the president evaded scrutiny of his management , punctuated from the beginning by frequent corruption scandals.

Dávalos assured that Lasso, who suffers from very low popular acceptance according to various surveys, also suffered a “strategic defeat” in the local government elections last February, when he tried to apply controversial reforms through a plebiscite.

And it is that this referendum had become a “referendum on the government itself and its legitimacy”, and it lost, added Dávalos.

Now, the early elections seem to be a political escape valve that, however, will return to the table for discussion the main problems that have affected the country since Lasso took power in 2021, such as insecurity, the rise of crime, illegal emigration, the economic crisis, poverty, unemployment and corruption.

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