Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno announced the seven questions to be included in the country’s upcoming national referendum on October 2. Moreno said that the questions aim to “tackle corruption, strengthen democracy, and revive employment and the economy,” according to an interview with state-supported news outlet TeleSUR.
The referendum solicits public opinion on various topics including corruption, the environment, and political reelection. It specifically solicits public opinion on seven questions: first, forbidding individuals convicted of corruption from running for public office; second, dissolving the current Council of Citizen Participation (CCP), which oversees the appointment of Attorneys General and other state and local positions; third, repealing the 2008 constitutional amendment that allows for indefinite reelection to public office; fourth, repealing the “law of goodwill,” which imposes a 75 percent tax on the short-term resale value of land; fifth, expanding the Yasuní National Park (YNP) by at least 50,000 hectares of land and reducing permitted oil drilling within the region from 1,030 to 300 hectares; sixth, outlawing mining operations within protected zones, intangible zones, and urban areas in Ecuador; and lastly, forbidding all forms of child prostitution, including child pornography.
While public demand for a referendum currently hovers at 74.7 percent, many have criticized this referendum’s various topics. Ex-President Rafael Correa and his faction within the majority Alianza PAÍS, which is also Moreno’s party, oppose the electoral changes in the first three questions. Correa, who is particularly opposed to the repeal of indefinite reelection, stated that if Moreno’s referendum passes, “[Alianza PAIS] are going to convene a national constituent assembly and [Correa] will have to return as a candidate.”
Some within the Yasuní territory believe that the environmental questions are too vague and leave much room for exploitation. They have requested that Moreno specify plans for YNP expansion as well as the locations in which drilling will be permitted. Jorge Espinosa, an advocate for the Yasuní communities, noted that current drilling operations within the Yasuní area already exceed 300 hectares. Some environmentalists have agreed to support the provision on the condition that no more oil wells are built within the province.
The Constitutional Court of Ecuador agreed to evaluate these provisions on October 5. In the meantime, Ecuador’s political alliances will continue to develop their positions on the referendum. Moreno’s right-wing opponents in the CREO party have come out in support of the referendum. On the other side, Moreno’s own Alianza PAÍS opposes the referendum in solidarity with ex-President Correa.