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Ecuadoran President Guillermo Lasso, facing a looming impeachment vote, dissolved parliament this week, a move observers warned could worsen the crisis in the Latin American country that is currently dealing with a deteriorating security situation, CNN reported.
The conservative leader invoked a constitutional procedure known as “muerte cruzada” – or “mutual death” – that allows him to dismiss the opposition-dominated parliament and call for early elections.
The new presidential and legislative elections will take place in 90 days, according to Ecuador’s Electoral Council.
Lasso has been facing calls for his resignation over the country’s dire economic situation and rising crime. Before the dissolution, lawmakers began impeachment proceedings against the president over allegations that he influenced the negotiation of a shipping contract related to the export of oil products.
Lasso has denied the allegations and called for new elections as the “best decision to pave the way for hope.” He explained that the move was necessary to stop the political crisis in the country, adding that it was costing Ecuador millions of dollars.
Meanwhile, security forces have asked citizens to respect the president’s decision and refrain from disrupting “the constitutional order and democracy through violence.”
But the opposition criticized the move and had previously vowed to hold mass demonstrations if Lasso went forward with the “muerte cruzada.”
Former Ecuadoran officials and political analysts noted that parliament’s dissolution was very risky and “would absolutely cause instability” in the South American country.