Ecuador’s Constitutional Court has approved a petition allowing supporters of President Rafael Correa to collect signatures for a referendum that would allow him to seek another term in office.
Correa has said he is stepping down at the end of his current term and that the referendum effort will not change his mind. “I appreciate the vote of confidence but I have made my decision to leave,” he said last month.
The referendum would repeal a prohibition of public officials seeking another term who are at the end of their current term limit. The National Assembly passed a constitutional amendment earlier this year eliminating term limits but added language, at the request of Correa, that binds current office holders to the old constitutional standard.
“The court judgement allows us to begin collecting signatures for the national referendum,” said Pamela Aguirre, leader of the “Rafael Contigo Siempre” campaign. She says she hopes the president will change his mind about not running again if her group can collect the 900,000 needed for a national vote.
Aguirre says the achievements of Correa’s nine year’s in office make him “one of the greatest presidents of Ecuador and we want his administration to continue for the benefit of the country.”
Correa says he plans to move to Belgium with his Belgian-born wife and accept a teaching position at a university in Brussels. Correa’s two daughters are attending university in France.