Ecuador's Lasso says he will use decrees after another legislative defeat

Ecuador's president, Lasso, pictured in the Galapagos Islands
Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso speaks at the inauguration of an extended marine reserve that will encompass 198,000 square kilometers (76,448 square miles), aboard a research vessel off Santa Cruz Island, in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador January 14, 2022. REUTERS/Santiago Arcos/File Photo

QUITO, March 29 (Reuters) - Ecuadorean President Guillermo Lasso said on Tuesday he would use decrees, referendums and other tools to meet his election promise to reactivate the country's struggling economy, bypassing the national assembly, where lawmakers have rejected his proposals.

The comments from the conservative ex-banker came after the assembly last week voted down an investment bill which Lasso's opponents decried as privatization of public assets. read more

"What it shows me is from here on out I should govern without considering that the National Assembly exists," Lasso said during a weekly radio interview. "It's evident what they want is to block the national government."

"It's clear the government must find a way, its own course, to seek well-being for Ecuadoreans and not waste time sending any more laws to the assembly," he added.

The constitution allows him to use decrees to govern, he said, and even to put laws rejected by legislators directly to the Ecuadorean people in referendums.

Lawmakers have rebuffed five major laws - including bills dealing with security and higher education - since Lasso took office in May last year.

Relations between the president and lawmakers soured further over the weekend, when Lasso requested the attorney general investigate five lawmakers and an adviser from the Pachakutik indigenous party for allegedly seeking economic favors in exchange for their support for the investment law.

The legislators have challenged Lasso to prove his accusations and said they will cooperate with any investigation.

Lasso is looking to attract billions of dollars in investment in telecoms, energy, mining and oil, which he maintains are key to righting the country's finances and creating the 2 million jobs he has promised during his tenure.

He has also promised a labor reform, which he is currently discussing with unions.

Reporting by Alexandra Valencia in Quito Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb Editing by Matthew Lewis

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