Ecuador’s election laws banning campaigning and the sale of alcoholic beverages go into effect today ahead of Sunday’s referendum vote. As of midnight, all campaigning for or against referendum questions is prohibited. At noon today the “dry” law takes effect.
First enacted 40 years ago, the law requiring a “calm” period before and during a national election is intended to promote “a sober and reflective voting public capable making the best decisions for the future of the country.”
Those caught campaigning can be fined $193, or half of Ecuador’s minimum basic salary. Newspapers, radio and television stations that carry political advertising or broadcast political commentary associated with the election can be fined $50,000 to $100,000.
Bars, restaurants and stores caught selling alcoholic beverages from today until Monday at noon can also be fined $193.
The dry law comes at an inopportune time for bars that cater to North Americans since the U.S. National Football League Super Bowl is Sunday. National police say will be on the alert for bars that try to skirt the law, either by ignoring it altogether or hosting “private” parties.