Lasso could remain in office until the end of the year, or even beyond, elections council says
With all attention focused on Sunday’s election of a new president, the announcement by the National Electoral Commission that President Guillermo Lasso could remain in office weeks longer than expected has received little notice. The CNE originally predicted a new government would take office in November but now says it may be as late as early January 2024.
“For a number of reasons, there is uncertainty about the date a new president and National Assembly will take office, says CNE president Diana Atamaint. “Because of cyber-attacks in the August election, we are rerunning the Assembly election for some Ecuadorians living out of the country and we must be prepared for legal challenges to this and the presidential runoff,” she said Tuesday.
She also said the credentialing process for the winning candidates in both the National Assembly and presidential elections could take longer than planned. “The cross death emergency posed challenges not normally faced in the election cycle,” she said.
CNE has tentatively set December 8 for the delivery of credentials to the new Assembly and December 11 for the president but has not said when they will assume office. “At this stage, President Lasso could remain in office for days or weeks longer,” Atamaint said. “It is possible he will continue his duties beyond the Christmas holidays and possibly New Year’s.”
According to the law, Atamaint says, there is a period of 15 days following the delivery of credentials before new office-holders officially assume their duties.
“The unknown factor is if there will be challenges to the elections,” she says. “This could extend the process.”
With at least two-and-half months remaining in the Lasso presidency, legal experts say there will be increased pressure for cooperation between the president and the Constitutional Court, which must review and approve cross death presidential decrees.
“Without a National Assembly, there could be a crisis of governance if Lasso and the court do not develop a more cooperative working relationship,” says Milton Goya, University of Guayaquil law professor. “To date, during the cross death, the relationship has been antagonistic as the court has limited Lasso’s authority. This will need to change in the next few weeks to keep the government functioning.”