Ecuador Debates Reforms That Keep Correa Out of 2017 Election

  • President Correa says he's not needed to guarantee 2017 win
  • Correa originally proposed changes allowing him to run again

Ecuador’s congress will debate constitutional amendments Thursday that would allow presidents to serve indefinite consecutive terms -- except for President Rafael Correa in the 2017 election.

The changes include everything from removing term restrictions on public officials and lowering the minimum age for the president, to making the news a public service to be regulated by the government. Congress President Gabriela Rivadeneira may call a vote at the end of the debate.

Correa had originally proposed changes that would allow him to run for president again in 2017, before backtracking and adding a clause last month that would make it impossible for him to bid again until after the next president takes over. His decision came amid mounting protests against his government and the retreat of regional political allies in countries like Argentina and Brazil, where a collapse in commodity prices is sapping public resources for popular social programs.

“Believe me, the way things are going now -- it’s not arrogance, it’s not pride, comrades -- with adequate work, we can win with another candidate in 2017,” Correa said Nov. 14 in his weekly speech to the nation.

Correa, 52, has said that his party could use a legal provision, known as muerte cruzada, or crossed death, to call new legislative and presidential elections if an opposition victory makes the country “ungovernable.”

“I want to give way for other candidates, but if the opposition impedes the country’s governance, then we will see ourselves at the ballot box again,” the president said.

Correa has said his former vice president, Lenin Moreno, a United Nations special envoy on disability and accessibility, would make a good candidate to replace him. He’s also said his current vice president, Jorge Glas, Interior Minister Jose Serrano and Defense Minister Fernando Cordero could win if they ran for president.

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