Ecuador referendum signals government’s further turn to right
17 February 2018
The victory of the “Yes” vote in Ecuador’s February 4 referendum has set the stage for a further swing to the right by the government of President Lenin Moreno, who took office nine months ago as the chosen candidate of his predecessor Rafael Correa, who had occupied the presidency over the previous decade.
The key question among the seven submitted to the electorate limited presidents to a single re-election, which effectively bars Correa from carrying out his original plan to return to the presidency in the 2021 election. The measure was approved by over 64 percent of the voters.
While Moreno had served as his vice-president for six years, Correa denounced his successor as an “impostor” and a “traitor,” breaking with the ruling Alianza PAIS party and forming his own Citizens’ Revolution movement, which campaigned for a “No” vote, which won approximately a third of the votes.
The referendum was written to include other questions aimed at drawing popular support. The measure gaining the most votes (74 percent) bars officials convicted on charges of corruption from serving in public office.
The Correa government was engulfed in a corruption scandal, with an estimated $34 million in bribes paid to government officials by the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht during Correa’s time in office. His former vice president, Jorge Glas, is serving a six-year jail sentence in connection with the Odebrecht payoffs, and Correa himself faces possible charges.
The bribery, however, goes back some 30 years, involving every major bourgeois party in Ecuador.
There were also provisions in the referendum protecting youth against sex crimes, barring mining in…