President Rafael Correa praised the National Assembly Saturday for passing 15 amendments he said were necessary to fix omissions and problems in the 2008 constitution. He also announced that he plans to send additional amendments to the Assembly in the coming months.
He said his decision not to seek another term in the 2017 election was intended to give integrity to the debate in the Assembly and to defuse political protests he believed were meant to destabilize the government.
Following the adoption of the amendments on Wednesday, anti-government protests were held in Quito, Cuenca and Guayaquil, but they were small compared to those in August.
“Whether I run again or not should not be an issue that upsets the peace,” he said. “That would be selfish on my part and would taint the amendments.” Correa had language added to the amendment that allows indefinite election of public officials, stating that those currently in office must leave in 2017.
Correa said he was confident that a candidate from his Alianza Pais party will win the 2017 election. “If the election for president and Assembly were held tomorrow, we will win three to one,” he said.
He said that his political opponents are intent on destabilizing the government. “It is the only way they can succeed and we will not give them the ammunition to do that. It is impossible to cover he sun with one finger,” he said.
He cited the small size of anti-amendment protests as proof that the opposition is weak.
In addition to removing term limit restrictions, the amendments lower the minimum age for running for president from 35 to 30, changes the terms of unionization for public employees, allows military personnel to be used for law enforcement in cases of extreme emergency, and makes news a public service to be regulated by the government.
Lawmakers voted 100 to 8 to approve the amendments.