Lasso will not resign and the Death Cross is an ‘arrow in his quiver,’ government minister says
Calling the work of the National Assembly commission that recommended the impeachment of President Guilllermo Lasso a “fantasy and a fable,” Government Minister Henry Cucalón said Thursday the president has no intention of resigning.
“Their report is 221 pages of pure trash,” Cucalón said in an interview. “It produces neither heads nor tails and is without legal value. I can’t imagine it would be accepted by an intelligent person. Even the name of the case given by the committee, the Great Godfather, is a joke.”
Following the presentation of its report Wednesday, the special commission forwarded its recommendation for Lasso’s impeachment to the full Assembly where it needs the signatures of 46 members to be presented to the Constitutional Court for review.
Cucalón said he would not speculate on Lasso’s response if the Court rules in favor of allowing impeachment to proceed. “We are not at that point and we may never be, so I offer no opinion,” he said in response to the question of whether the president would invoke the Death Cross, dissolving the National Assembly and calling new elections for both the Assembly and the presidency.
Under provisions of the Death Cross, Lasso would be allowed to rule by decree until new elections are held and a new Assembly and new president take office.
Some political experts believe Lasso would impose the Death Cross immediately following a favorable impeachment court ruling while most say he would wait to see how an impeachment trial plays out.
“I think he will wait if that happens to see if there is enough support for his dismissal,” said Jorge Iglesias, a former deputy minister in the Rafael Correa administration. “It is unclear what support there is for removal from office and current indications are that it does not have the votes in the Assembly. Supporters of impeachment are saying that guilt by association is sufficient grounds for removal but many members want evidence that the president had direct connections to drug money and corruption.”
In his comments, Cucalón said details of the commission’s impeachment recommendation have been “rapidly changing” since the beginning of the week. “First they say the president is guilty of treason, which we all knew was a dog without hair,” he said. “Then, on Wednesday, someone on the commission was smart enough to read the constitution and realize it did not apply. The president’s opponents are grasping at straws, which makes me think they do not have the support for impeachment.”
Cucalón acknowledged that the Death Cross is “an arrow in the quiver” for Lasso but said he doubts it would ever be used. “The commission’s report and recommendation is pure conjecture based on political ill will so it is hard to take seriously at this time.”
As for the demand by the Conaie (Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities) that Lasso resign immediately, Cucalón said that it’s their right. “Anyone can ask him to resign,” he said. “My uncle can ask him to resign but this is something he does not take seriously. He was elected to serve four years as president and intends to do that.”