President Lenin Moreno promoted his seven-question national referendum Tuesday in Guayaquil, insisting that his goal is to reestablish trust among Ecuadorians.
“We are working to heal the country by recovering its unity, promoting reconciliations between families, friends, and colleagues who have been torn apart in recent years by political passions,” said Moreno. He added that ideological differences have created conditions that “work against the goals of a healthy democracy.”
During his speech at a Guayaquil independence day event, Moreno focused on the referendum question that will overturn a 2015 constitutional amendment passed by the National Assembly that allowed the indefinite reelection of some government officials, including the president.
“The great liberator Simón Bolívar went to great lengths to warn against the concentration of power,” he said. “It is very dangerous to allow a single leader to attain dominant control of the government. It builds arrogance in the leader and creates a governance of authoritarianism and dictatorship.”
He continued: “Alternation of power is essential for a vibrant democracy since it creates an atmosphere of dialog between various interests and the sharing of ideas.”
Ending indefinite reelection is the most controversial question on the referendum ballot, particularly among supporters of former president Rafael Correa. If it passes, Correa would not be allowed to run again for president.
Moreno also pushed for passage of questions that would bar public officials convicted of corruption from serving again in government and reduce the authority of an administrative agency that reports directly to the president.
“My objective for the referendum is to restore an open democracy in Ecuador, to reduce corruption and to make the process of government transparent and open to all our citizens,” Moreno said.