Ecuadorian citizens have cast their ballots in favor of constitutional and environmental reform in a nationwide referendum called by President Lenín Moreno that took place on February 4.
The results of the referendum grant legitimacy to the Moreno administration, which has long operated under the shadow of Moreno’s predecessor, Rafael Correa. During Correa’s ten-year tenure, he rewrote the Ecuadorian constitution twice and introduced economic reforms which capitalized on Ecuador’s abundant natural resources. Moreno has struggled to establish his authority in the wake of such radical change. Despite this struggle, the results of the referendum indicate strong popular support for Moreno.
The referendum consisted of seven questions addressing the political rights of corrupt politicians, the reinstatement of term limits, reforms to the Council of Citizen Participation and Social Control (CCPSC), a ban on litigation against minors charged with sexual assault, the prohibition of mining in environmentally protected zones, the prohibition of land speculation, and an enlargement of environmentally protected areas. Despite Correa’s fervent campaign against the referendum, Ecuadorians approved the reforms by a generous margin.
The Ecuadorian people’s decision to reinstate term limits and reform the CCPSC were particularly scathing blows to correísta politics. Term limits essentially end Correa’s prospects of a future political career, safeguarding Moreno against a potentially formidable opponent in Ecuador’s 2020 presidential elections. e referendum also permits Moreno to dismantle one of Correa’s last political bastions within the CCPSC: a collection of legal figures that remains faithful to Correa.
According to El Universo, Moreno now faces resistance from multiple international bodies, particularly the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. At home, however, he has secured definitive political power.