Moreno appears close to calling a popular referendum that could reverse Correa-era amendments

Sep 12, 2017 | 6 comments

Aides to President Lenin Moreno say an announcement could come within days of a public referendum that could make significant changes to the constitution and government policies. Two of the issues likely to be up for vote strike at the heart of former president Rafael Correa’s government model: the indefinite reelection of the president and the elimination of a government agency that extends presidential authority.

President Lenin Moreno

In his Monday night television broadcast, Moreno said he had full faith in direct democracy. “There is nothing more legitimate and constitutional than leaving the destiny of the country in the hands of the people,” he said, in reference to putting major issues on a public referendum.

Moreno rejected suggestions from his own Alianza País party to call a constituent assembly, similar to the one called recently by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, to decide key issues. “That is the statist approach that leaves decisions in the hands of the government,” Moreno said. “I say let the people decide directly.”

Alianza País members loyal to Correa are most concerned about a vote to reverse the indefinite term limit amendment since it could mean the former president would not be eligible to run again for president.

In addition to the possibility of reinstating presidential term limits and eliminating the Council for Citizen Participation and Social Control, which reports to the president, Moreno said a referendum could address the independence of the country’s judicial system and reversing several laws passed by the National Assembly.

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During Monday’s broadcast, Moreno also focused on corruption, urging the attorney general to continue pressing Odebrecht and Petroecuador cases. “Nothing is more important than prosecuting those who steal precious public resources and violate the public trust,” he said. “We will aggressively go after the culprits and do everything in our power to recover public assets.”

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