Ecuador’s President Pushes Ahead on Plan for National Referendum

Updated on
  • President sends several questions to Constitutional Court
  • Ex-president Correa charges Moreno seeks to block his return

Ecuador President Lenin Moreno on Monday pushed ahead with his plan for a national referendum on amendments to the nation’s charter by proposing that the Constitutional Court review a set of questions so they can be put to voters as soon as possible.

In a nationwide broadcast Monday evening, Moreno said he wants to submit seven questions for consideration in a referendum, with a reinstatement of term limits for elected officials at the top of his list. He said he would also propose lifetime bans on individuals and companies found guilty of graft from holding office or contracting with the government.

Lenin Moreno.

Photographer: Rodrigo Buendia/AFP via Getty Images

"I’ve chosen a referendum because I think it’s necessary to make substantial changes to Ecuador’s institutionality in the short term," Moreno said Wednesday in an interview on CNN Espanol.

The court must decide whether Moreno’s proposals are constitutional under the charter approved by voters in 2008, which strengthened then President Rafael Correa’s powers over the government and economy. Correa’s 70 percent congressional majority in 2015 scrapped term limits, potentially allowing him to run for president again after Moreno’s term expires.

While Moreno entered politics as Correa’s vice president and both men belong to Correa’s Alianza Pais, they’ve fallen out since Moreno took office in May and are embroiled in an increasingly bitter public feud. In a Sept. 30 broadcast on social media, the former president accused Moreno of seeking “to disqualify” him through the proposed referendum that could take place before the end of the year.

Moreno had said he aims to include two questions on the environment, while pledging to remain current on bond payments. In his Monday address, he said he will seek greater limits on oil production in Yasuni National Park and metallic mining in protected areas, near waterways and urban centers.

A nationwide poll of 1,678 voting-age Ecuadorians by public opinion researcher Cedatos released Sept. 28 put approval for the referendum at 74.7 percent, up from 74 percent two weeks earlier.

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