The organizers of the Rafael Contigo Siempre campaign to amend the constitution to allow President Rafael Correa to seek a third full term in office have delivered 1,248,000 signatures to the National Electoral Council (CNE) in Quito. If validated, the signatures could force a national referendum on the issue. The signatures of eight percent of the electorate, or 929,062, are required for a referendum.
Pamela Aguirre and Stephania Baldeón, organizers of the Rafael Contigo Siempre campaign, delivered the signatures to the CNE Monday afternoon.
It is unclear if Correa will run for another term even if a referendum allows it. Although he has threatened to run again if, as he claims, the political opposition “continues to spread lies,” he says his preference is to retire at the end of his current term. He has said on several occasions that he plans to assume a faculty position at a university in Belgium. His wife is from Belgium and his two daughters attend university in France.
In 2015, Ecuador’s National Assembly amended the constitution to remove term limits on the presidency and several other elected offices. The amendment, however, contained a clause prohibiting current office holders from taking advantage of the new rule. If approved, the referendum would eliminate the prohibition and allow Correa to run again. Ironically, it was Correa who insisted on including the prohibition in the amendment.
Former Vice President Lenin Moreno and current Vice President Jorge Glas are possible successors to Correa. According to recent polls, both lead all opposition presidential candidates for next February’s national election.