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"The Armed Forces are not a constitutional court to rule on the decisions of Congress or the Executive branch," said Alberto Acosta, the former president of the Constituent Assembly.
Through a broadcast on television and networks carried out on Wednesday morning, the Ecuadorian Armed Forces made a statement on the decision taken by President Guillermo Lasso related to the dissolution of the Legislative branch.
The Armed Forces "maintain and will maintain their position of absolute respect for the constitution and the laws," Joint Command Head Nelson Proaño, said at the beginning of a speech to the nation that lasted less than three minutes.
While this spokesman recalled that the Armed Forces are "obedient but not deliberative," he made statements about the constitutionality of the decisions made by political actors.
"The decision of the National Assembly to politically impeach the President is based on a constitutional provision. Similarly, the decision of the President of the Republic to dissolve the National Assembly is based on article 148 of the constitution," Proaño said.
"Therefore, it is subject to a constitutional norm and must be fully and completely respected by all citizens. I wish to remind Ecuadorians that the Armed Forces and the National Police are obedient and non-deliberative institutions and we fulfill our mission strictly abiding by the constitution," he added.
The tweet reads, "The Armed Forces and the Police support the decision made by President Guillermo Lasso and call on citizens to remain calm."
Immediately after, Proaño warned that "the country will not accept any attempt to alter the constitutional order through violence aimed at attacking democracy. If that happens, the Armed Forces and the National Police will act firmly."
The statements by military commanders on the legality of the actions of the Executive and Legislative branches, however, unleashed immediate reactions in civilians.
"What do the Armed Forces have to do at this moment? They are not a constitutional court to rule on the decisions of Congress or the Executive branch," said Alberto Acosta, the former president of the Assembly that drafted the Ecuadorian constitution in 2008.
"This country will have no future as long as the Armed Forces continue to be political actors," he added, warning that the real possibilities of consolidating Ecuador's democratic institutions will depend on what the next National Assembly does after being elected.
"Lasso is an outgoing president. His economic policies must be reviewed by the Constitutional Court," Acosta emphasized, recalling that Lasso will rule by decree without parliamentary control in the coming months.
Since this circumstance could be used to strengthen neoliberal policies and favor business elites, he warned that society could legitimately protest since protest is a constitutional right.