A second prominent Ecuadorian politiician has thrown his support behind an effort to force a national referendum on a constitutional amendment to eliminate term limits for elected offices. The amendment would allow President Rafael Correa to seek a third full term as president.
Guillermo Lasso, who opposed and lost to Correa in the 2012 election, says the people should have a chance to vote on the question.
Last week, former president and three-time presidential candidate Lucio Gutierrez, announced he supports a public vote, saying he feared that Correa is amassing too much power.
A number of proposed constitutional amendments are currently being reviewed by Ecuador’s Constitutional Court and one option the court is considering would give the National Assembly, which is controlled by Correa’s Alianza Pais party, the option of approving the amendments without a national referendum.
In an interview with television network Ecuavisa, Lasso said he is ready to begin a drive to collect voter signatures for a referendum. “The indefinite election of the president is too important an issue to be decided by the Assembly,” he said. “The people should have the right to decide.”
Like Gutierrez, Lasso says his goal is to collect at least a million signatures, far more than the 600,000 required by the National Electoral Council (CNE) to put the question on the ballot. “We must present far more signatures than just those required to make sure the question goes to the people.”
Lasso says he fears a consolidation of power by Correa and the executive branch of government. “The political structure that is being organized excludes many voices from being heard. In a true democracy, all factions should be heard.”
Photo caption: Guillermo Lasso