According to a new poll, Ecuadorians overwhelming say they want a chance to vote on a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow President Rafael Correa to seek another term in office.
The amendment is one of 17 being considered by the country’s constitutional court. In addition to examining its legality, the court could allow the National Assembly, which is controlled by Correa’s Alianza Pais party, to enact the amendment without a public vote.
According to the poll conducted by Cedatos Gallup, 73% of those asked say they want a public referendum on the amendment. Only 9% say they are comfortable with the National Assembly deciding the issue.
Cedatos polled 2,300 voting age Ecuadorians in 23 cities.
Previous polls by Cedatos also showed public support for a public vote the amendment that would eliminate term limits for all elected offices, including the presidency, but by slightly smaller margins. In June, 60% said they wanted a public referendum while 18% said the Assembly should make the final decision.
Opponents of Correa say a referendum is their best chance of preventing the president from remaining in office past 2017. “If the people vote, those who oppose Correa on both the right and the left will come together to vote against the amendment,” says José Gonzalez, leader of Ecuador’s Young Communist League. “In a regular election, these groups will vote for different candidates which will allow Correa to win.”
Correa says he does not fear a referendum but says he believes that the Assembly has the legal right to approve the amendment. If the court rules for the Assembly, opponents of the amendment are almost certain to mount a voter petition drive that would force a national vote.
The constitutional court has not said when it will make a final decision on the amendments.
Photo caption: President Rafael Correa