Ecuador’s embattled President Lasso will not seek re-election

Guillermo Lasso’s announcement comes weeks after he dissolved the legislature to face impeachment.

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso, who last month dissolved the country’s National Assembly amid an impeachment trial against him, has announced he will not run in snap elections scheduled for August.

Lasso said on Friday he will not participate in the August 20 vote and called on various political parties to unite in defense of democracy.

“I want to be clear that I will not accept the nomination as a presidential candidate for the next election on August 20,” Lasso told reporters and members of his cabinet at the presidential palace on Friday.

“The work will not stop, on the contrary, it will double. There’s no point in campaigning if the country needs me for the citizens,” he said of his remaining days in office.

The right-wing former banker, who took office in 2021, rules by decree after invoking a constitutional mechanism in mid-May to dissolve the opposition-controlled National Assembly and end his presidency.

The move came as the legislature had considered Lasso’s impeachment over allegations that he had ignored warnings of embezzlement related to a contract with the state oil transportation company Flota Petrolera Ecuatoriana (FLOPEC).

Lasso has denied wrongdoing and accused the National Assembly, which has twice attempted to impeach him, of fomenting a “political crisis”.

The president invoked a constitutional clause known as “two-way death” to dissolve the legislature.

The clause also allowed him to rule by decree for six months in exchange for ending his term early and holding new elections before his original term expires in 2025.

Opposition members accused Lasso of behaving like a dictator and filed a lawsuit the next day to challenge the decision.

The South American country has been battling rising violent crime and drug trafficking in recent years, as well as a worsening economic crisis. Ecuador was also hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The president and legislators elected in the August ballot will remain in office until the current term expires in 2025. If necessary, a presidential runoff will be held on October 15.