Former Ecuadorian President Lucio Gutierrez says he will lead an effort to force a public referendum on the proposed constitutional amendment that would allow the indefinite reelection of public officials, including the president.
Gutierrez was elected president in 2002 but was removed from office in April 2005 by the Ecuadorian Congress, charged with embezzlement and violating the autonomy of the national supreme court. He returned to Ecuador five years ago from political asylum.
Gutierrez said he will lead a campaign to collect more than 1,000,000 voter signatures if Ecuador’s constitutional court rules that the proposed constitutional amendment can be approved by the National Assembly without a public vote. He says the people should have the right to vote on the question and claims the constitutional court is “stacked” in favor of President Rafael Correa, who supports the term limit amendment.
“I think it is very unlikely that the court will rule in favor of a referendum on the issue,” Gutierrez. “It is firmly in the hands of Correa and his supporters.”
Gutierrez is not the only one pushing for a referendum. Last week, representatives of a group called Citizen Participation filed a writ amicus curiae with the court asking it to require a public vote.
Photo caption. Former president Lucio Gutierrez.