As Assembly council approves impeachment trial, Lasso renews threat of the ‘Death Cross’

Mar 21, 2023 | 5 comments

Government Minister Henry Cucalón reminded the National Assembly Monday that President Guillermo Lasso can invoke the muerta cruzada, or death cross, any time he considers it appropriate. “This option, as defined by the constitution, is always on his desk and can be employed at his discretion.”

Government Minister Henry Cucalón

Cucalón’s comments came hours before the National Assembly’s Legislative Administration Council (CAL) voted to begin the impeachment process.

Under rules of the death cross, the president can dissolve the National Assembly and call for new elections for the Assembly and presidency if he considers national stability to be at risk. Under its terms, the president can rule by edict until new elections are held, a period of five to seven months.

In his Monday morning comments, Cucalón scoffed at the suggestion of anti-government assembly members that the death cross could not be used once the impeachment process begins. “This is not in the constitution and is not a matter of opinion,” Cucalón said, claiming Lasso could invoke it any time before a final impeachment vote is taken. “The constitution recognizes the fact that impeachment is a political process, not a legal process,” he adds.

Last week, Assemblyman Darwin Pereira urged the CAL to request a ruling from the Constitutional Court on whether the death cross can be used during an impeachment trial against the president.

The Assembly’s case against Lasso now goes to the Constitutional Court to determine if the corruption charges against him warrant an impeachment trial.

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