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Correa stumps for ‘no’ vote in Cuenca

Former president Rafael Correa is in Cuenca this weekend to campaign against President Lenin Moreno’s public referendum questions.

Former president Rafael Correa leads the opposition against the February 4 referendum.

On Saturday, Correa held a series of meetings with representatives of opponents of seven referendum questions and ended the day with a caravan for the “no” campaign through several Cuenca neighborhoods.

As he has in other campaign appearances, the former president said he is opposed to the referendum on legal terms but is focused on defeating questions 2, 3 and 6. “The referendum is illegal because the president did not allow the Constitutional Court to rule on the questions so I object to it on principle,” he said. “At this point, since the election is going forward, our job is to concentrate on the three questions.”

In particular, Correa is focused on question 2 which would prevent him from running again for president. A “yes” vote would nullify a constitutional amendment sponsored by Correa and passed by the National Assembly in 2015 that allows indefinite reelection of some officials, including the president.

Question 3 would restructure the Council of Citizen Participation and Social Control (CPCCS), included in the 2008 constitution, which is responsible for the appointment of non-elected government officials. The CPCCS, modeled on a similar Venezuelan agency, removes authority previously held by the National Assembly and reassigns it to the executive branch.

Question 6 would eliminate an added tax on real estate capital gains imposed by the National Assembly in 2016. The tax was aimed at curbing land speculation but critics say it punishes all property owners and the construction industry.

During Saturday’s events, more than 200 national police were on hand to maintain order. On several occasions during the “no” caravan, they were called on to keep “yes” supporters from blocking the route.

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