Ex-president Correa aims to 'rebuild' Ecuador if his party succeeds in snap election

Venezuelans participate in an Anti-imperialist Tribune, in Caracas
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By Oliver Griffin

(Reuters) - Ecuadorean former President Rafael Correa told Reuters on Friday that his party would rebuild the country and tackle law and order issues if successful in a snap election this year, adding that he hoped to get at least 50 seats in the National Assembly.

Elections could take place as early as Aug. 20 after President Guillermo Lasso, a conservative former banker, dissolved the National Assembly by decree on Wednesday to head off an attempt by opposition politicians to impeach him.

Those elected will serve a truncated term until 2025, when the scheduled electoral calendar would resume.

"The important thing is that whichever government comes in - at least if it's ours - it will be one of transition, to rebuild the country for 2025," Correa told Reuters in a phone interview, adding that it was too early to name a presidential candidate.

A court in Ecuador sentenced Correa to eight years in prison in 2020 over accusations he broke campaign finance laws.

Correa, a leftist who led Ecuador from 2007 to 2017 and has lived in Belgium since he left power, has denied the accusations and describes the case against him as one of political persecution.

His party, Citizen Revolution, was the biggest party in the assembly with 47 seats before Lasso dissolved it.

The former lawmakers from Citizen Revolution will run in the snap election, Correa said, adding that he hopes the party wins at least 50 seats.

"Fewer than what we had would be a failure," Correa said, although securing a majority in the 137-seat assembly would be difficult, he added.

Lasso triggered the so-called "muerte cruzada" or "two-way death" - a constitutional provision introduced by Correa - which allows the current president to call elections for both his post and lawmakers under certain circumstances, including if actions by the legislature are blocking the functioning of government.

Lasso - who has said he will not run in the upcoming elections - will rule by decree until the snap election, with laws subject to approval by the Constitutional Court.

Any laws issued by decree - including an earlier move by Lasso to loosen gun controls - will be targeted following the election by Citizen Revolution politicians in government or the legislature, Correa said.

"All of those must be repealed, they are barbaric," Correa said.

(Reporting by Oliver Griffin in Bogota; Additional reporting by Alexandra Valencia in Quito; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)